Ghana: Tamale Airport Phase II to be Upgraded to International Status
Mr. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, Ghana's Minister for Transport and Aviation, has announced plans to further upgrade the Tamale airport to full international status.
According to Minister Kwaku, the government plans to carry out this upgrade although the US$80 million Phase II works at the airport is yet to be completed.
The third phase, which will be the further upgrade, is meant to complement what has already been done to date to bring the airport to the full status of an international airport. The Phase III works will commence along with the yet-to-be completed Phase II works, which was reported to be 57% completed when the Minister visited Tamale on Friday 26th March 2021.
The Tamale Airport Phase II works started in August 2019, and is being built on 3,500 acres of land. It is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022. However, once Phase III is incorporated into it, the timeline may be pushed to the end of 2022. Approximately 150,000 passengers currently patronize the Tamale Airport annually.
According to information posted on the Ghana Airports Company website, upon completion the Tamale airport will, among other things, become the centre of Hajj-related activities in the country and further ease the annual facilitation of pilgrims to Mecca.
The government's goal is to make the Tamale Airport achieve the full status of an international airport, and boost the economic potential of Tamale as the breadbasket of the nation. This further upgrade will involve expanding the main multi-purpose terminal which is approximately 5,508 square meters, and which is currently under construction.
The cost of the planned Phase III upgrade is currently unknown. Nonetheless, the Minister reported that the technical experts from the Ghana Airports Company Limited and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority are working in collaboration with the Phase II contractor and project consultant to determine the costs.
The contractor is QGMI, a Brazilian construction firm, while the project consultant is Ecobuild Consult. The Minister also stated that the government would immediately source funds as this upgrade is economically viable and profitable.
The Minister said, “Per the advice from the project consultant in terms of cost-effectiveness, it will be better to have phase III. We believe that we can combine the two phases as we've done for Kumasi Airport. It will be viable; it will be profitable, and there will less cost for us. I believe that we will be able to meet the demands that the engineers and consultants are asking us so that we can achieve the purpose that we set for ourselves to do."
“We will reap the full economic benefits if we do phase III. That is why we are proposing that we do it now instead of waiting for it to be done in the future. We may not incur a huge cost, but if we are to wait for phase II to be completed, it means that in bringing on phase III, we need to touch some of the items” the Minister further stated.
Among the facilities inspected during the Minister's visit were the main terminal (57% complete), a multipurpose building (61% complete), the bulk utility comprising an underground firefighting reservoir, a portable water tank and a wastewater treatment system (41% complete), and the access road and car park (38% complete).
Tamale Michael Omari, the Regional Airport Manager, said that he was hopeful that the project would be finished on schedule. He said, “The economic potentials of this Airport is huge, and so we are going to market it well with a special focus on cargo services. Tamale and its surrounding communities are a hub for animal husbandry, horticulture, and agro-based products. Cargo delivery of these products to neighboring countries will fetch us some good money.”
Photo: Passenger Terminal at Tamale Airport, Ghana (Sean Mendis | Creative Commons)