Construction of a new terminal building for the Tamale Airport is expected to begin in the coming months, as government seeks to position it as the second international airport of the country.
The country has only one operational international airport, and completion of the Tamale Airport Terminal and designation of same will take pressure off the existing international terminal at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and serve as an alternative in case of emergencies.
Answering a question posed by the B&FT about whether the Tamale Airport is in view to be turned into a modern international airport with all the requisite facilities, Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited John Attafuah said: “Yes. We expect the works for the Tamale Airport terminal building to start very soon.
“In the meantime, we are trying to acquire some logistics to ensure airlines that want to operate from Tamale can operate. For example, we are getting passenger stairways and bowsers for the airport to ensure that when they land it will be easy for them to get the services they require,” he added.
In September 2014, work commenced on the upgrade and expansion of Tamale Airport to International status.
The first phase involved an upgrade and extension of the runway from 2438m to 3940m; construction of a new Apron and taxi-link; rehabilitation of the existing apron; and installation of aeronautical ground lighting systems.
The project was commissioned on the 19th of August 2016, to coincide with the first flight of the 2016 Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca when a Boeing 747-400 aircraft touched down at the airport.
Upgrading the Tamale Airport fits into the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) requirement for states to have an alternate airport capable of receiving wide-bodied aircraft in the event of an emergency at the country’s main airport.
Domestic Terminal to be decommissioned
Terminal 1, otherwise known as the Domestic Terminal, of Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is to be decommissioned and operators relocated to Terminal 2 – which is currently used for international operations – when the state-of-the-art Terminal 3 is completed next year.
Mr. John Attafuah, on the sideline of the maiden flight of Ethiopian Airline’s Boeing 787-9 in Accra, said: “For now, the plan is to have Terminal 2 become the domestic hub and Terminal 3 take all the international passengers”.
Terminal 3 (T3) is designed to accommodate five million passengers a year, and will process 1,250 passengers an hour. It will also have six boarding bridges.
The KIA airport occupies 1,610 acres (651 hectares) within the city of Accra, and is about 10 kilometres from the city centre.
In 2014, work commenced on expansion of the T2 Arrival Hall to ease the congestion experienced during peak hours. Currently, the existing floor area of the arrival hall has been expanded by 5,148m2.