Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday (22 August) commissioned the Tamale International Airport Phase II project in the Northern regional capital.
Facilitated under the auspices of the UK-Ghana Business Council (UKGBC), the project is part of the government’s aviation sector infrastructure development programme designed to expand the frontiers of the aviation industry and to make Ghana the aviation hub within the West African region.
Bawumia, who broke ground on 15 August 2019 for works to begin on the project, expressed delight that four years on, the Tamale International Airport Phase II project has been completed.
“This project is so dear to the government and particularly the hard-working people of the Northern Region and its trading partners across the length and breadth of the country and the region,” Bawumia said.
“The completion of this ultra-modern terminal building together with a multi-purpose terminal and other ancillary facilities are expected to provide the needed impetus for increased economic trading activities and to reinforce the status of Tamale as a Sub-Saharan hub airport for flights to and from neigbouring West African countries and the Sahel Region.
“The Tamale International Airport will serve as an alternative to the Kotoka International Airport,” he added.
Works undertaken at the airport include an approximately 5,000 meter squared expandable ultra-modern airport terminal building with annual passenger throughput of 400,000; a multi-purpose terminal (Hajj facility), 5km single carriageway access road; a 330 capacity car park, a technical hub to manage electricity, waste water treatment and other essentials, as well as other ancillary facilities.
The features of the new terminal building include a VIP lounge; two boarding gates; two self-service check-in kiosks; eight check-in sesks; airline offices and commercial retail areas.
At US$70 million, the cost of works on the Tamale Airport Phase II Project is significantly lower than the US$110m cost incurred under Phase I, undertaken between 2014 and 2016, although the scope of works – extension of the runway by one kilometer, installation of lights and the partial fencing of the airport – were fewer.
Noting that the Northern Region is renowned for its vibrancy in agricultural and economic activities, Vice President said the location of the airport within the Sahelian belt, also referred to as the food basket of Ghana, is expected to enhance access to market for the local agriculture produce, enhance tourism and attract passengers from neighboring countries.
“Indeed, government intends to use Tamale International Airport to support the programmes of the Northern Development Authority (NDA) of Ghana to harness fresh agricultural produce for export to other parts of the world and to generate employment and create wealth in this geographical zone.
“The boost in agriculture would be leveraged to support the development of Agro-based industries in Northern Ghana. The expansion of the Tamale International Airport is expected to serve as a catalyst for industrialization and rapid socio-economic development.
“It is my hope that other service providers will leverage the completion of this project to invest in other areas such as the establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, development of cargo facilities and cold stores for export of fresh produce and establishment of Aviation Training Organization (ATO) among others,” he said.
The expansion of the airport is also strategic, Bawumia added, as it will help ease the travel of Muslim faithful for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
“Significantly, it is also expected that the Tamale International Airport will make Tamale the Hajj hub in Ghana and facilitate seamless travel directly to Saudi Arabia for the seasonal pilgrimage to Mecca. It is gratifying to note that the multi-Purpose Terminal, which was completed in 2022, has been used in facilitating Hajj Pilgrims in 2022 and 2023.”
Vice President expressed concern about the widespread encroachment on airport lands, warning that it threatens future expansion of our airports and could hamper rescue efforts in the unlikely event of an accident.
“The operators and regulators of our airports, as well as, the Lands Commission need to work closely together to ensure that airport lands are properly protected and well managed not only for future airport expansion but also to safeguard lives and property in the unlikely event of an accident occurring at or around the airport enclave. I therefore charge the authorities involved to enforce the law and I also entreat all citizens to cooperate for us to fully benefit from the development of the aviation sector.”
The Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, urged airline operators in the subregion and beyond to take advantage of the increasing aviation offerings in Ghana, promising them an “unmatched travel experience” to – and in – Ghana.
The British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson, has expressed excitement that the opening of the new Tamale International Airport will galvanise investment and growth across the northern part of Ghana.
For her, the newly opened Tamale International Airport attests to the growing list of Ghana’s critical infrastructure development.
“Today we celebrate not just the expansion of Ghana’s critical infrastructure but, more importantly, the potential of this fantastic international airport to galvanise investment and growth across the north of Ghana.
“Tamale and this whole area of the country are now connected to markets across the continent and the world,” she said.