Four Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities are to be constructed in Tamale, Takoradi, Kumasi and the Upper East Region to provide aircraft maintenance and servicing activities in the country and sub-region.
These projects are to be financed from the Aviation Ministry’s budgetary allocation of GH¢318million for the 2019 calendar year.
The construction of MROs in these locations is seen as fundamental to realisation of the aviation hub agenda of successive governments, given that the country is yet to establish a single MRO to serve operators. When completed, this will make the country the fourth major MRO facilities operator on the continent behind South Africa, Ethiopia, and Egypt.
The report of the Parliamentary Committee on Roads and Transport submitted to the House in December noted that: “…the Ministry plans to develop a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in the country that will provide aircraft maintenance/servicing activities in Ghana and for other African countries.
“The Committee further observed that construction of the MROs will be on the premises of Tamale Airport, the airport in Upper East Region, Takoradi International Airport, and the Kumasi Airport phase-11 upon their completion. The Committee deemed the proposed development as a very strategic decision,” the statement said.
Importantly, the second phase of the Tamale and Kumasi international airports is expected to be started in earnest to enable the two airports better-host the MROs. Two new airports are also expected to be constructed – in Takoradi and a site yet-to-be-identified in the Upper East Region.
There is currently a military airport in Takoradi that is used by domestic airlines for scheduled passenger operations. However, limited use of the facility by airlines, and the growing demand on the Accra-Takoradi route as well as the need to provide easy access to the tourism hub of the country – Cape Coast, means there is need to construct a bigger civilian airport.
The Aviation Ministry is currently perusing three different scenarios for the airport that is expected to serve the Central and Western Regions.
“We are looking at two or three scenarios [for the project] and will decide which one is most convenient for us. We may well be able to take all three on-board. We have a lot of tourists going to the Cape Coast area; there is a lot of development going on in the oil and gas enclave in the Western Region, and the Takoradi Port is there as well. The fishing harbour in Elmina is also there. All these show that people will be travelling to and from the Central and Western Regions, so we plan to move on that.”
The Upper East Region, currently without a functioning airport, is expected to benefit from the construction of a regional airport – for which an MRO will be based there to serve northern Ghana and the Sahelian region.
Interests in the MROs
Ghana signed an agreement with Egypt Air in August 2018 for the establishment of a repair and maintenance facility at the Kotoka International Airport. The agreement is a welcome boost for a country seeking to be an aviation hub.
The Deputy Minister for Aviation, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah who led a delegation of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) and Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) officials to Cairo for the deal-signing back in August, told the B&FT that: “This is going to help in positioning Ghana as a key aviation hub in the sub-region. Once it is established, minor repairs of specific aircraft can be handled locally”.
Kenpong Group of Companies, acting through its subsidiary Kenpong Aircraft Maintenance Ghana Limited (KAMGL), has secured a licence to establish and operate an MRO at the Tamale Airport.