President John Dramani Mahama is set to inaugurate the Wa Airport in the Upper West Region for the start of commercial operation by end of this month, B&FT sources have revealed.

The airport has undergone extensive renovation including the construction of a suitable terminal building, construction of a new runway, and fencing of the facility to make it suitable and safe for commercial operations.

The Wa airstrip, which was decades ago used for domestic services, had remained unsuitable for domestic flights over a long period now.

Domestic airline operators cited the poor runway, lack of an adequate terminal building and other ancillary facilities for their inability to operate flights from Accra to the Upper West regional capital.

A significant number of the travelling passengers to Tamale do so for onward connections by road to the Upper East and Upper West Regions and Burkina Faso.

The regional capital, Wa, is home to some 224,000 people — most of whom work with non-governmental organisations operating in the region, and are students of the Wa campus of the University of Development Studies (UDS).

There is a lot of inter-trading activities between the country and its northern neighbour, Burkina Faso. The land-locked country relies on Ghana and other West African countries for its maritime imports, which are carted by land through the Upper West and Upper East Regions to the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou.

Growing passenger throughput, increasing number of French-speaking West Africans in Ghana, and the relatively peaceful nature of the country are some of the major lures for airlines in the region.

The domestic transit passenger volumes increased from 14,000 in July 2015 to over 22, 000 in July this year. International passenger throughput also hit 1.6million this year.

With the Ho airport also expected to be operational this year, there is now a growing concern in some quarters about the ability of the only two remaining domestic operators to service all destinations locally.

Starbow currently operate flight between Accra and Tamale, Sunyani, Kumasi and Takoradi; while Africa World Airlines (AWA) operates flights from the domestic terminal of KIA, Accra to Tamale and Kumasi. AWA also started servicing the Accra-Takoradi route today.

Source: B&FT

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