General News of 2012-10-04

Galamsey Pit At Kumasi Airport

THE MINISTER of Transport, Collins Dauda, has sarcastically likened the holes that have developed on the runway at the Kumasi Airport to a “galamsey pit” and has consequently called for massive infrastructural improvement at the airports in the country.

He made the remarks when he inspected the defects on the runway with dignitaries such as George Kuntu Blankson, board chairman, Ghana Airport Company Limited and Kwadwo Abrefa Sarkodie, Kumasi Airport manager on Tuesday afternoon.

The minister and Kuku Blankson, sources said, received the news of the closure of the airport with shock since they were not informed before the announcement on Saturday.

According to Mr. Dauda, his ministry initially thought the defects on the Kumasi Airport runway was a minor one so they quickly dispatched men to Kumasi to correct the anomaly for the airport to remain in operation. They realized the damage on the runway was a major one which needed extensive works to help solve the problem, after the workers have conducted inspections on the runway.

The minister, shocked at the deep holes that have developed on the runway, said “it is not a small hole, it is very deep and wide and I think this demands a lot of work at the place to fix the problem.”

Hon. Dauda noted that P.W. Ghana Limited has been contacted to immediately start works on the Kumasi Airport runway, stressing that if they started on Wednesday they would finish on Friday.

He passionately apologized to patrons of domestic airlines for the inconvenience that the closure of the airport has caused them, noting that the closure of the facility was necessary since it has prevented an imminent disaster.

Hon. Dauda said the Kumasi Airport was ideally constructed some decades ago to cater for light aircrafts but heavy airplanes have lately been operating at the airport, causing pressure on the facility.

According to him, domestic airline business was booming in recent times. It was therefore not a surprise to him that the facilities at the airports were struggling to contain the attendant pressure.

The minister stressed on the need for the airports in the country, notably the Kumasi, Sunyani and Takoradi airports to experience massive infrastructural transformation in order to meet the high demands.

Hon. Dauda disclosed that plans were far advanced for a major construction of the asphaltic overlay and installation of approaching lights at the Kumasi and Sunyani airports, hinting that an amount of GH¢10million has been allocated in the budget for the works.

He noted that the amount earmarked for the massive works at the Kumasi and Sunyani airports could not finance the project, and so PW Ghana Limited would be contacted to pre-finance the project for later reimbursement.

Still on the closure of the Kumasi airport, the minister said the decision to close the facility was not intentional, stressing that the closure was an urgent national phenomenon that had occurred.

Hon. Dauda said the immediate closure of the airport buttressed the fact that the managers of the facility gave premium to the lives of people who patronized aircrafts, reiterating his appeal to customers of airlines to exercise patience whilst the defects on the runway were corrected.

He was not happy with how domestic airline operators treated the matter and urged airline operators to strengthen their public relation outfits so that they would be proactive when matters of such nature occurred in future.

Adams Mathew of M/S Barnes Consultant, the consultant for the works on the runway, expressed confidence that the work would be completed in 48 hours for the airport to operate.

Source: Daily Guide
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