President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday commissioned Phase I of the Sunyani Airport. The President said the rehabilitation of the Sunyani airport was critical to the government’s vision of expanding the frontiers of the aviation industry in the country.

The President, who described the commissioning as a seminal moment in the growth and development of Sunyani, said the rehabilitation of the airport was to realize the dream of making Ghana an aviation hub in West Africa.

The Sunyani Airport dates back to the Second World War in 1942 when it was used as an airstrip for the Allied Forces. In 1969, the then far-sighted Busia Government, realizing the need for an airport in Sunyani, initiated construction work to convert the airstrip into an airport.

This was completed and officially opened on 13th July 1974 by Col. P.K. Agyekum, the then Commissioner for Transport and Communications.

President Akufo-Addo said for the airport with a such rich history to have been allowed to deteriorate and temporarily shut down in March 2016 was the least the country could do to the residents of the Bono Region.

“That is why, in the run-up to the December 2016 general election, I promised to do something about it” he stated

President Akufo-Addo intimated that in line with his government’s policy to provide a functional air travel infrastructure to enhance the development of the nation’s middle belt and strengthen the growth of agriculture, general business, and industrial transformation, a contract was awarded to M/S Resource Access Limited to commence the rehabilitation of the airport in 2019.

He said the scope of work included the rehabilitation and extension of the runway from 1,280-metre meters, to 400 meters; repair of the apron to accommodate small to medium size aircraft; minimal renovation of the Terminal Building; and construction of internal roads.

With air travel picking up following the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry, it is expected that domestic passenger traffic will continue to grow over the coming years, and will require more infrastructural developments in the sector.

“I am happy to inform you that there are projects currently ongoing in our nation’s aviation sector which have to open up our country even further. They are Phases II & III of the Kumasi Airport project, which is presently some ninety-three per percent) complete and Phase II of Tamale Airport which is ninety-five per percent) complete,” the President said.

Touching on the widespread encroachment of airport lands, a phenomenon that threatens the future expansion of airports in the country, President Akufo-Addo warned that “it must be stopped.”

He said, “the operators and regulators of our airports, as well as the Lands Commission, need to sit up and ensure that lands, belonging to our airports, are managed properly and duly protected, not only for future projects of expansion but also for safeguarding lives and property.”

The President assured residents of Sunyani that “this project is a sign of greater things to come for Sunyani and the Bono Region and, indeed, for the whole nation. The Akufo-Addo Government’s commitment to the development of all parts of Ghana, without discrimination, is absolute.”

SOURCE: GhanaToday

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