President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cut sod for the commencement of the $70 million second phase of the Tamale Airport, expected to be completed in 30 months.

The second phase consists of the construction of an ultra-modern terminal building, together with a multi-purpose hajj facility, and other ancillary facilities, expected to provide the needed impetus for increased economic and trading activities.

President Akufo-Addo said the project would reinforce the status of Tamale as a sub-Saharan hub for flights to and from neighbouring West African countries and the Sahel region.

He said the Tamale International Airport, when completed, would also serve as a complement to the Kotoka International Airport, as well as make Tamale the centre of hajj-related activities in the country, facilitating seamless travels from Ghana directly to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage to Mecca.

President Akufo-Addo said the Tamale International Airport would encompass design elements for the scope of work, construction of a modular airport terminal building of approximately 5,000 square metres, which is expandable in the future, construction of a hajj facility of approximately 1,000 square metres, construction of a single carriageway access road, construction of landside and airside infrastructure adapted to the terminal size and construction of water, power and sewerage infrastructure, deemed necessary for normal operations.

“Funding for this project has been secured, made possible by facilities from UK Export Finance and KfW IPEX-Bank of Germany, for which we are grateful. Advance mobilization has been processed for payment to the contractors,” he said.

“30 months is 30 months and the contractors must deliver the project on schedule to avoid any cost overruns. Compensation has been paid to all persons and groups affected by this project, and so we anticipate a very smooth project cycle,” he added.

As part of government’s resolve to increase domestic aviation activities, the President said, a host of other projects are on-going and these include second and third phases of the Kumasi Airport, and the rehabilitation of Sunyani Airport.

“In addition to the development of infrastructure for the domestic aviation sector, the elimination in 2017 by government, of the 17.5 per cent VAT on domestic ticket sales has reduced the cost of tickets and doubled the frequency of domestic air travels. We are determined to boost the domestic aviation industry,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo called on the operators and regulators of the country’s airports, as well as the Lands Commission, to sit up and ensure that lands, belonging to the country’s airports, are managed properly and duly protected, not only for future projects of expansion, but also for safeguarding lives and property.

He told the Yaa Na Mahama Abukari II, who was present at the event, that, “I assure you that this project is a sign of greater things to come for Tamale and the Northern Region and, indeed, for the whole nation. Government’s commitment to the development of all parts of Ghana, without discrimination is absolute.”

Source: GNA