The Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, has halted the sale of about 7 acres of Kotoka International Airport Green Park to private developers for US$40million by management of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL)
The parcel of land was to be sold to developers for the construction of offices and hotels in the same manner the Airport City I project was executed.
However, given the manner in which prime airport lands were sold for the construction of Airport City I, where an acre of land was sold to private developers outright (45 yrs with an option for five more years) for US$200,000 per acre with no royalties tied to it in 1999, the supervising Ministry has directed a halt to any such process and rather impressed upon management of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) to find innovative ways to generate sustainable non-aeronautical revenue to support their operations.
Given the increased focus of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on growing the sector in a sustainable manner by encouraging the constructing of eco-friendly on-ground infrastructure, the Aviation Minister has directed that use of the said parcel of land be skewed toward the creation of an eco-friendly multi-purpose use that will generate regular revenue for the GACL—which is 100 percent state-owned.
IATA data show that in 2016 civil aviation, as a whole, emitted around 814 million tonnes of CO2. Airports are therefore going green in response to increasing pressure regarding the aviation industry’s environmental impact.
For instance, not only is Singapore’s Changi Airport one of the world’s best airports, but it also has a pedigree for being environmentally conscious. Its two most recent terminal additions are designed to highlight the airport’s commitment to green principles. The airport’s recently opened Terminal 4 features a green wall bedecked with more than 20,000 plant species, which is said to reduce the airport’s surrounding temperature and improve air quality.
Incheon Airport in South Korea has been selected as the best airport in the world by the Airports Council International for its green-consciousness in and around the airport for the past eight years. This airport has multiple outdoor features, including waterfalls, streams, aviaries and acres of large gardens – one of which is a Western-inspired sculpture garden. It has a large eco-friendly shopping district and dining plaza.
Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, has therefore proposed converting the area into an eco-friendly recreation area with various facilities to generate revenue for the GACL, while maintaining about 60 percent of the greens on the stretch and further foresting the area.
Over the next 20 years, IATA data show, demand for air transport in Ghana is expected to grow annually by 6.1%; which translates to additional six (6) million passenger journeys per year to reach a total 8 million passengers by 2038.
Given the growth of aviation expected in Ghana over the next 20 years, the directive by the Aviation Minister for a more eco-friendly, sustainable yet profitable projects on the said parcel of land – instead of concrete and hundreds of unoccupied office and apartment spaces just as exists at Airport City 1 – will help reduce current and future carbon footprints while beautifying the area and generating revenue for the state-owned company.