Wa needs an airport now
2013-05-27 20:49:02This article has been read 807 times.The need for Wa, the Upper West Regional capital, to have an airport has come into focus once again, as a number of business people in the region have called on the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to treat the issue as a necessity.
According to them, Wa is no longer the “village that people thought it to be, while an airport in the region will open it up for investment”.
Wa currently has an airstrip which has, for a long time, been earmarked for an upgrade.
However, investigations by the Daily Graphic have revealed that the cost involved in upgrading the airstrip will be huge, considering the mess that has been created in and around it.
The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), whose responsibility it is to do the upgrade, will have to ‘claim’ about 538 acres of land which has been encroached upon, provide a control tower, properly fence the runway, clear telephone masts and street lights around the airstrip and also take a second look at the tarmac itself.
Ghana has five hard surfaced runways. They are at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra and the Takoradi, Kumasi, Tamale and Sunyani airports that serve domestic air traffic.
Starbow and Antrak run domestic flights in Ghana but charter services are available to other locations where there are airstrips.
The use of domestic flights has significantly reduced travel hours to the barest minimum.
It has also promoted national development, as tour operators take advantage of domestic flights to get to tourism destinations.
Benjamin Ohene, Public Servant — Transportation to southern Ghana is very tedious, since it takes between 10 and 15 hours, depending on the type of vehicle used. An airport in Wa will promote business and thereby open the Upper West Region to development.
The Upper West Region has suffered for far too long and the government must look for the necessary funding to upgrade the airstrip into a modern airport. The expectation is that when this is done, a lot of investors will come to the region.
Mathias Aserbire, Circulation officer — Health wise, lives could be saved, since patients needing specialist treatment and care could be referred to referral facilities such as the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi and the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. The use of road transport, which very likely aggravates the condition of such patients, would be done away with.
Currently, ambulances are used to transport referred patients down south, but when the upgrading is done, the long hours associated with such travels will be greatly shortened and many lives would be thus saved.
Providing airports for all the regions should be factored into the government’s better Ghana agenda.
Wasila Yussif, National Service Person — It is very necessary, as it will promote tourism in the Upper West Region, thereby promoting development. It will also erase the erroneous perceptions some people have about the development level of the region. Certainly, an airport will make it possible for commercial flights to operate in and out of the region, making it easily accessible. People, particularly tourists, will not be forced to terminate their journeys in Tamale.
Abdullah Sita Yakubu , Manager — For me, a new airport should be constructed at the outskirts of Wa, since the present one is right in the middle of town. The money to be used in upgrading the airstrip should be used for the construction of a new airport. There is this fear that should the airstrip be upgraded, it could be dangerous for residents living in the area because of noise pollution from the planes and what the repercussions of a plane disaster would be should there be one.
So, for me, it would rather be advisable for an airport to be built for the region, instead of wasting resources to upgrade the airstrip.