Upon completion, the Tamale International Airport is expected to become the only Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility that will provide aircraft maintenance activities in Ghana and West Africa.
This means that the airport will be mandated to repair and maintain aircraft such as jets and helicopters, including boeing and other commercial flights.
The outgoing Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Dapaah, disclosed this when she met with Parliament’s Committee on Finance to discuss the loan agreement between the Government of Ghana and KFW IPEX-Bank GMBH for an amount of $80 million meant for the design and construction of the second phase of the Tamale International Airport.
The facility is expected to be operated by Kenpong Aircraft Maintenance Ghana Limited (KAMGL), a subsidiary of the Kenpong Group of Companies who recently secured the MRO licence and a hangar at the Tamale Airport.
This will make the KAMGL the third facility of its kind in Africa with similar MROs in Ethiopia and South Africa.
The Government of Ghana, acting through the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), intends to upgrade the Tamale Airport to be able to handle international operations.
As a strategic decision by GACL, the Tamale Airport is proposed to be an alternative to the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
In particular, the government intends to use the airport to support the programme of the Northern Development Authority (NDA) of Ghana, as well as use the airport as a base for seasonal direct Hajj flights between Ghana and Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The GACL signed a contract with QG Construction Limited for the upgrade and extension of the existing runway and associated facilities to accommodate large wide-bodied jet aircraft.
The phase one of the project was completed in August 2016. It included the preparation of the master plan and environmental and society impact assessment to cover the whole scope.
In addition, the project rehabilitated and extended the existing runway from 2,438m up to 3,400 length, extended and strengthened the existing runway pavement, rehabilitated the existing taxiway and taxi-links and the apron extension.
The second phase of the project will include the construction of a modern international airport terminal, a Hajj facility and development of a modern infrastructure for all aviation and relevant non-aviation facilities.
It will cover the development of a passenger main terminal, access and secondary roads, water, power and sewerage infrastructure.
The development of the airport is expected to promote domestic air travel and provide the national spokes to open up the enormous potential growth of traffic in domestic and regional routes.
It is also expected to boost eco-tourism and cultural tourism by facilitating domestic and international travel for the exploration of the national historic heritage sites and the development of eco-tourism and cultural tourism of the savannah zone of the country.
Also, the airport will benefit the agricultural sector by leveraging the export of fresh produce and support an agro-based national strategic goal leading to the potential establishment of agro-based industries.