The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has declared the Sunyani Airport a ‘fit for purpose’ facility after concluding his last inspection tour at the facility on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 with a team of experts from the Ghana Airports Company (GAC), Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Ghana Air Force.
He concluded the facility is now ready for operations, after assessing all the work that was carried out by contractor Resources Access Limited on phase-one of the Sunyani Airport Rehabilitation Project commenced in 2018 by the Akufo-Addo-led government.
However, he was quick to add that the airport will be commissioned when the aerial coordinates are thoroughly assessed and approved by the Ghana Air Force and subsequently certified by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
Subsequent to that, there will be test-runs to check that the runway and other facilities which ensure safe landing and takeoffs of aircraft have met all aviation standards.
“Thankfully, the contractor has completed his work and we are waiting for operations of the airlines to commence. But in the aviation industry there are rules and regulations.
“The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has some standards for any airport to meet based on their regulations before commencing operations. That is why we have brought a team of experts from the Ghana Civil Aviation, Ghana Airports Company Limited and Ghana Air Force to come and inspect the facility to determine if all the regulatory requirements have been met,” he noted.
The Transport Minister made these observations when interacting with journalists moments after his team of experts had thoroughly assessed the GH¢48million airport project.
He was accompanied by a deputy Minister of Transport, Hassan Tampuli Sulemana; NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani East and Board Chairman of Bui Power Plant, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh; NPP MP for Sunyani East and Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah; Bono Regional Chairman of NPP, Kwame Baffour, aka ‘Abronye’; Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu Banahene; and the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive, Kusi Boadum.
Commenting further, he said the Ministry of Transport will always ensure that ICAO’s regulatory standards are met to avert any fatalities.
“The Sunyani Airport was closed down in 2015 when the runway deteriorated and became unfit for purpose. The aviation industry is a very highly regulated industry, and if you miss the standards it means human lives are at stake. That is why the airport was closed down for renovation work to commence and meet ICAO standards.
“Now what we have done is to ensure that aircraft can come here. We are going to ensure that this airport meets the best standards in the aviation industry and is fit for purpose. Now the aircraft can come in and will not pose any danger to anyone,” he said.
A team of experts from the Ghana Air Force that accompanied the Transport Minister to Sunyani to assess the aerial coordinates got down to work. They flew in a Ghana Air Force helicopter that had carried the minister and his entourage from Accra, and were suspended in the air for about twenty (20) minutes before landing.
“It is an air-route, and before landing the aircraft there are certain altitudes and coordinates which have to be maintained. So, that is basically it; we are going up to confirm the route and send the report to GCAA for certification,” said Group Captain Gervase Wienaa, Director of Engineering, Ghana Air Force.
Findings on their report are expected to be given to the GCAA for study and certification.
Commenting on the facility, the Director of Projects & Operations-Resources Access, Abdul Salam Zabilila Alhassan, said they are delighted to have accomplished their task having demarcated the scratches to increase friction on the runway, as well as completing markings on the runway. “We are now waiting for the airport to get regulators to certify the facility,” he noted.
A deputy Director-General, Technical of the GCAA, Daniel Acquah, also commenting on the airport facility said he is impressed with the work done by Resources Access Limited, and believes that some aircraft will commence operations in a few days.
The Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company, Pamela Djamson-Tettey, on her part said: “We are delighted to be here today, feeling very proud that our airport is ready to start operations. We believe that the contractor and consultant have delivered on time to a very high standard.
“We are just waiting to start operations because it means a lot to us as Ghana Airports to be able to earn the revenue that comes from a key place like Sunyani. We have received a lot of requests from some domestic airlines wanting to operate the route. So, we are thrilled that today as we are here to do the inspection we will go back with good news, and in a few days the airport will be up and running; and like all our other airports, it will earn us good money.”
The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu Banahene, also commenting on the facility said Passion Air has applied to operate the Sunyani-Accra route and other destinations. She is hopeful that some other airlines will also come onboard.
Rehabilitation of the Sunyani Airport Phase-1 project began in 2019. It was expected to have been completed by end of May 2021 to pave the way for safe landing and takeoff of aircraft. However, due to the outbreak of novel Coronavirus, work on the facility was suspended until the country returned to normal life.