Twenty-eight investors have so far expressed their preparedness to partner government in constructing a proposed new commercial airport that will serve the Central and Western Regions.
“We have identified a lot of sites and the GCAA is also working on these sites. Over 28 people have shown interest in partnering the Ministry of Aviation to develop these sites.
“There are two things we are looking at: an air-strip and a commercial airport. The site at Elmina was supposed to be developed into an airstrip, but there is a site between Komenda and Shama. That is the one where we want to build a commercial airport to serve both the Western and Central Regions,” Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, Deputy Minister for Aviation told the B&FT.
He was speaking at the inauguration of Turkish Airlines’ Sales Office at the Atlantic Towers, Airport City, Accra.
The need to construct aerodromes in both Central and Western Regions has become imperative, given the historic and increasing role of the two regions in the tourism and oil and gas sectors of the country respectively.
The Central Region, which is a major tourism destination in the country – given its rich history and UNESCO World Heritage Castles, is only accessible to tourists (domestic and foreign) by road, which takes about 2-hours due to heavy vehicular traffic.
However, the limited use of on-ground military-owned facilities necessitates the establishment of a new civilian airport in keeping up with current and future growth – following the granting of more licences for oil exploration activities off-shore the Western Region.
Turkish Airlines’ growth
Turkish Airlines has been operating in the country since 2010. It currently offers a daily service between Accra and Istanbul with hundreds of on-ward connection to Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Strategically located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the airline’s hub in Istanbul is a major point for connecting to the aforementioned regions of the world.
Mr. Okyere Darko-Mensah said: “The airline’s contribution to the aviation sector has been enormous, and I urge them to continue on that path. We wish to assure Turkish Airlines and other airlines in our country of our unflinching support to promote the airline business and provide an enabling environment for the aviation industry to thrive in Ghana.
“This office is a mark that the aviation sector is doing well. Turkish Airlines has increased its passenger throughput by about 70 percent since 2010, and this is a major symbol of their progress.
“This is also central and closer to the airport, and means that they will be able to deliver their services to their clients and also support their agents. We strongly believe that we can use aviation to develop the country.”
Mr. Ferhat Yerli, Country Manager of Turkish Airlines said: “The success of the airline would not have been possible without support from the travelling public, government and travel agencies.
“As times change and both business and the City has shifted toward Airport City, we have decided to make our new home here in Atlantic Towers. In this new office, we have better facilities with which to have our business and easy access to the airport; but most importantly, we can provide our employees and our clients with a better all-round environment to get the work done.”
He added: “I would like to restate the promise on behalf of all the members of Turkish Airlines, Accra, that it is our goal to understand the pluralities and needs of our clients and to provide them with high quality service. We will use this new working environment to prove to you that we are up to this task. We believe that with your continued support we will create a prosperous tomorrow and widen our world”.