The Ghana Airport Company is planning to refurbish the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) Terminals 1 and 2 to the standard of Terminal 3 to ease the anticipated pressure on Terminal 3 in the coming years.
The move will see Terminal 2 catering for regional flights to reduce pressure on Terminal 3, which is currently accommodating international and regional flights. Terminal 3 was built to cater for 5 million passengers, and in about one and a half years of operation has already hit over 3 million passengers, according to data from the Aviation Ministry.
There are worries that Terminal 3 will soon hit the five million passenger throughput, and measures need to be put in place to accommodate spill-overs.
Asking a question on the floor of parliament last week, Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale North Constituency and a former board member of the Ghana Airport Company, Alhassan Suhuyini, queried the Aviation Minister and MP for Navrongo Central Constituency, Joseph Kofi Adda, on measures being put in place to ensure the airport is safe with the rate of increasing passenger throughput at the Terminal 3.
Mr. Adda answered by saying a document is being prepared for conversion of Terminal 2 to cater for regional flights. This is expected to reduce the number of international flights at Terminal 3 and ease operations there. If the set-up is finalised, it will mean that flights from the West African Region and some parts of the continent will arrive and be processed at Terminal 2.
The Ghana Airport Company is however constrained with the current set-up and is proposing a refurbishment of Terminal 2 and Terminal 1 to cater for regional and domestic aviation services. Mr. Adda told parliament that since international flights where moved to Terminal 3, both Terminal 1 and 2 have not been put to full use.
However, the major challenge facing the airport company is logistics and the availability of Immigration and Customs officials to process passengers who will pass through Terminal 2 when regional flights are pushed there.
“Terminal 2 is being looked at, and I have engaged the Ghana Airport Company to understand what their plans are; they are due to submit their reports to us on how they hope to expand and improve use Terminal 2 so they can use it for regional operations – meaning the West Africa sub-region.
“The flights can come through that area, but they are limited by the logistical arrangement required from Immigration as well as the Customs Service – which simply means that when someone arrives from Europe or North America or South America and arrives at Terminal 3, for them to be able to use Terminal 2 if we have dedicated it to West African operations, they have to be checked by Customs and Immigration, then come out and be rechecked at Terminal 2 before they can board to Liberia or Sierra Leone or Nigeria and so on.
“They are working on that; they have given me a high level brief so far, and they are planning to bring the full report for us to know how they want to convert Terminal 2 to accommodate the passenger overflow when we go beyond the capacity of Terminal 3,” Kofi Adda said.
He believes the plan will help weave their operations at the Terminal together as part of efforts to make Ghana an aviation hub on the continent.