Barring any last minute hitch, President John Dramani Mahama will at the end of this month perform a ground breaking ceremony for the commencement of expansion works at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
This is in fulfillment of the Presidentâ€™s promise to partner the private sector to construct a new Terminal at KIA which will be known as Terminal 3, and also expand and upgrade other regional airports to meet international standards.
The Terminal 3 project, according to officials of the Ghana Airport Company Limited, is meant to expand facilities at the KIA to accommodate the gradually increasing number of passengers as well as increasing the number of airlines servicing the airport.
The new terminal is expected to have a capacity of 5 million passengers a year.
The only international airport in the country, KIA, has two main terminals. Terminal One is dedicated to domestic flight operations while Terminal Two is designated for international operations.
A third terminal has been necessitated by the increasing volume of international and local traffic, as well as the quest to position the country as a transit route of choice within the sub-region.
The new Terminal is to be constructed on the stretch of land around the recently completed parking bays designed to accommodate wide-bodied planes. The present GACL office is to make way for construction of the T3 at the KIA enclave
According to officials of GACL, the new terminal will have a runway, and other designated routes for vehicles. Ground lights, underground fuel lines and runway lights will all be featured in the new terminal.
Already, Mapa and Gunal Construction, a Turkish construction company, has been awarded the contract and they have since been on site mobilizing.
The commencement of the project, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018, has been made possible by the GACLâ€™s US$250m loan it secured in 2015 which was approved by consortium of banks led by Ecobank capital.
â€œThe contractor has up to approximately the first quarter of 2018 to complete the project,â€ Chief Director of the Ministry of Transport, Twumasi Ankrah Selby explained.
â€œThere is some refurbishment going on at the terminal 2, now the arrival hall has been done and we are looking at other works as well. But with the new terminal 3, the clearing work is currently ongoing as the area was initially being used by some other agencies and operators. But they have been relocated to allow for the project to commence,â€ he added
The KIA occupies 1610 acres, and is located within the city of Accra which is about 10km from the City Centre. The airport was initially used as a military aerodrome by the Royal Air Force (British) during World War II, and later handed over to the civilian authority following the military pullout.
Over the years, concerns have been raised about limited space at the airport due to the increasing number of passengers and the number of airlines servicing the airport.
Addressing parliament in 2013 during the state of nation address, President Mahama revealed that his administration had taken decisive steps to expand facilities at KIA and other regional airports.
In September 2014, the President cut sod for the upgrading and expansion of the Tamale airport to an international status.