Works are expected to begin next month on three airstrips—Yendi, Navrongo, and Mole—for which funds have been secured.
The three airstrips are part of about 34 airstrips and airports in the country that are mostly non-active and need revamping to become suitable for commercial passenger operations.
After visits to the Kete-Krachi, Mole, Navrongo and Yendi airstrips by the Aviation Minister and technical persons from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the three locations were found most suitable to be immediately revamped.
This is because the airstrips were found intact with little or no encroachment, had enough space for the extension of the runway’s length and width, and the traditional rulers and opinion leaders of the area were supportive and willing to help government secure the sites.
The Yendi and Navrongo airstrips, for instance, have been in existence since 1940 and were used as strategic airstrips by the National Guard which defended part of the country’s northern border during the Second World War.
The Yendi airstrip has a length of 1,500 metres and has enough land for the runway to be extended, and the current width extended to 300-150 metres on each side of the runway.
Aviation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda told Busines24 in Yendi that: “The President has directed us to construct as many airports and airstrips as possible to boost business and improve tourism.
“The Yendi airstrip has been in existence since the 1940s. Fortunately, the encroachment is not too much. There is still a lot of land for us to expand the width by 150 metres on each side. We will have to add 300 metres to the existing 1,500 metre-long runway to bring it up to 1,800 metres. A double seal of the runway will also be done so that light passenger aircraft can safely operate to Yendi.
“This is something that can be done in a month or two for us to open up the Eastern side of Dagbon.”
A visit by Business24 to the Navrongo airstrip showed that the decades-old airstrip is still intact, well compacted and used frequently by the Ghana Air Force. It currently measures 1,500 metres long and 24 metres wide.
On the development of the airstrips, the Minister stated: “Designs have been done, feasibility completed, funding has been secured, and we are waiting for the signing of the commercial agreement.
The sponsors have come with funds to show what they have available and the Minister for Finance has looked at it and it’s fairly reasonable to us. So we are waiting for the approval from the Finance Ministry to say whether it fits into their financial framework; that’s what we are waiting for to proceed.”