PRESIDENT MAHAMA CUTS TAPE FOR 2ND PHASE OF KUMASI AIRPORT

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PRESIDENT MAHAMA CUTS TAPE FOR 2ND PHASE OF KUMASI AIRPORT.

President John Mahama yesterday cut the sod for work to begin on the second phase of the Kumasi International Airport.

The second phase involves the construction of a bigger and modern terminal, with business class and VIP lounges, retail shops and many other facilities capable of increasing its capacity to handle passengers from the current level of 500,000 passengers per year to one million.

On completion of the second phase, the airport will have two main hangers that can take large aircraft and an extended runway of 1,800 metres.

This means heavy aircraft, such as Boeing 737, can safely land and take off from Kumasi at any time of the day.

The project is being executed by Contracta Engenhiria Ltd, the same firm executing the new Kumasi Central Market project.

Traffic increases

Addressing a large crowd that attended the ceremony, President Mahama said after the rehabilitation of the Kumasi Airport, traffic had increased tremendously from 14,000 passengers in 2008 to 500,000 currently, while the Kotoka International Airport was receiving two million passengers annually.

He said additional facilities would be provided for the airport to extend its capacity to handle more passengers beyond one million.

The President said there was enough available land around the airport that would allow for development into an entertainment area with restaurants and cafeteria and give opportunity to the private sector to build international hotels in the vicinity.

Second national theatre

He said Ghana’s second national theatre for entertainment, with a seating capacity of 3,000 people, bigger than Accra’s 1,500 capacity theatre, would also be constructed near the airport.

President Mahama said the first phase of the rehabilitation of the Kumasi Airport last December had made it possible for aircraft to land and take off at night, enabling passengers to travel to Accra and back in time “to be able to eat their fufu when the soup is still hot”.

Taxes/levies

Apart from reducing the price of aviation fuel by 25 per cent, the President said the next budget of the NDC administration would scrap all taxes and levies on aviation spare parts to give the domestic air travel operator incentives to be more attractive.

Additionally, he said, the government would be looking at reducing other taxes and levies in the sector, so that it would be made more competitive with the road sector.

He said there was no country in the world that had developed without transforming its transportation modes such as aviation, maritime and roads.

President Mahama said his next administration would construct the Accra-Kumasi highway into a dual carriageway to reduce accidents and make road transport safer and reduce travelling time.

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BY DONALD ATO DAPATEM.

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