The Managing Director for the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), Yaw Kwakwa, has said that all is set for resurfacing the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) runway in October.
He explained that the resurfacing has become critical, as the nation is working hard to maintain its high safety and security reputation and ride on the back of it to accelerate President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of making Ghana the aviation hub of the sub-region.
He told the B&FT that the GACL will be relying on government to execute the resurfacing work, which was estimated at around US$40million but could see a reduction due to the less busy nature of the runway as a result of the effect of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, which has led to fewer air operations currently.
“We are looking at resurfacing our runway, and I believe you have seen the Northern Apron; that one was planned using our internally generated funds, but with COVID-19 coming in 2020 it has become very difficult. However, we are looking to government for assistance; and we believe we will get it because it is critical,” Mr. Kwakwa told this Paper.
He is optimistic that the resurfacing will attract more flights to Ghana. “The business we are planning to get, we need to make a claim for that business; we need to build capacity, and resurfacing the runway is key to making that claim. We have realised that this is the best time to do the work, because we don’t have a lot of flights as we used to have in 2019.
“It means when we do that now, we save some money. Even though it is going to be inconvenient, it is also going to save us some money because the contractor will have a lot of time to work, and the project can be done quickly and at a lower cost.” The last time KIA’s runway was resurfaced was some 30 years ago.
Mr. Kwakwa also spoke about some of the awards KIA has earned in recent times. He noted that KIA received the 2020 Airport Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) award for ‘Best Airport by Size andRegion (2-5 Million Passengers)’.
The award is ACI’s recognition of GACL’s effort in providing a superior customer experience at KIA. It will be recalled that KIA received the ASQ award for ‘Best Airport by Size and Region’ and Most Improved Airport in Africa in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on global passenger traffic in 2020, as well as changing customer perceptions and expectations of the airport experience. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, airports managed to collect ASQ surveys from their customers throughout the year.
The ACI (ASQ) programme is the only world-renowned and established global benchmarking programme that measures passengers’ satisfaction while they are travelling through an airport. KIA signed onto the programme on December 20, 2017 and has been a member from January 1, 2018 to date. The Airport Service Quality Awards highlights the world’s best airports as judged by their customers. Mr. Kwakwa said these awards put a lot more responsibility on the GACL to better their operations and services.