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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday cut the sod for the commencement of the 2nd phase of the Kumasi Airport Expansion Project.


The €66,350,000 Airport Expansion Project encompasses the extension of the current length of the runway from 1,981 metres to 2,300; construction of a new terminal building, with the capacity to handle one million passengers per year; construction of an apron area and related taxiway; and the undertaking of ancillary works.


The completion of the project forms part of the multi-modal transportation system embarked upon by government, comprising air, marine, railways and road transportation, which is expected to stimulate the growth of the country’s industrial and agricultural sectors, and boost the tourism potential of the Ashanti Region.


Speaking at the event, which was attended by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, President Akufo-Addo said since funding had been secured for the project, there should be no excuse for any delays to generate cost overruns.


He said delivery of the project on schedule should be the watchword and urged project contractors to complete the work in 24 months.


President Akufo-Addo said the airport expansion project was a critical part of government’s vision to expand the frontiers of the aviation industry in the country and realize the dream of making Ghana an aviation hub in West Africa.


He said the widespread youth unemployment was the greatest threat to the country's democracy and the stability of the nation, and that the implementation of the project, which is expected to create some 1,200 jobs, would reduce the unemployment menace.


In addition to the expected growth in domestic air travel, President Akufo-Addo said, the completion of the project would ensure that the Kumasi Airport served as one of the key spokes of the Accra Kotoka International Airport (KIA).


President Akufo-Addo gave assurance that Government remained committed to the development of the domestic aviation industry and cited the removal of the 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on domestic airfares, last year, as ample evidence of that commitment and determination to facilitate the growth of the industry.


President Akufo-Addo noted that under the strong leadership of the Aviation Minister, Cecilia Dapaah, the Ministry had  been engaging potential investors, domestic and foreign, to partner with Government to establish a national carrier, the process of which was expected to be complete by end of the year.


He mentioned other ongoing projects such as the commencement of the 2nd Phase of Tamale Airport and the rehabilitation of Sunyani Airport, adding that the Ho and Wa airports had now been completed and would soon become operational. 


President Akufo-Addo urged the Ghana Airports Company and the Lands Commission to ensure that lands belonging to airports were managed properly and duly protected, not only for future projects of expansion, but also to safeguard lives and property. 


The President assured the Asantehene that the project was a sign of greater things to come for Asanteman and, indeed, for the whole nation.


Source ISD (Rex Mainoo-Yeboah)