The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will provide 1.1 million dollars to upgrade the capacity of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and help Ghana regain its Category 1 status under the International Safety Assessments (IASA).
A press release from the US Embassy in Accra on Thursday said the project will consist of refurbishment of the passenger terminal, development of a new Air Traffic Control Centre (ATC) and modernization of the Meteorological Services Department (MSD).
“Improvements to KIA will increase the chances that Ghana will achieve IASA Category 1 status, which will increase the country's ability to trade with the US by allowing direct service to the US by Ghanaian carriers,” the press release said.
Under the first project, the USTFA would grant 650,000 dollars to fund a feasibility study and design for the terminal refurbishment in partnership with the Ghana Airports Company Ltd (GACL) which would contribute 17,250 dollars in technical assistance.
The funding would provide architectural and engineering services to improve passenger flow, renovate the arrivals area and add new ticketing building, concourses and departure gates.
Ghana has experienced strong growth in air passenger traffic over the past 10 years with international passenger traffic at the airport growing at double digit rates since 2004, outstripping capacity.
The press statement noted that KIA handled more than one million international passengers in 2007.
GACL recently completed a 15-year master plan for KIA which projects that there would be some two million passengers by 2024.
“In order to accommodate this ongoing growth, GACL needs to refurbish KIA's passenger terminal and requires the schematics and design documents to determine what goods and services to procure.”
It said KIA's refurbishment would offer opportunities of 25 million dollars in the form of airport consulting, engineering and design services as well as equipment for baggage handling, security, electronics, boarding bridges, communication and building services.
Total capital requirements for the project are estimated at 47 million dollars, it added.
The second project is a grant for 295,000 dollars to fund a feasibility study to support the development of a new Air Traffic Control Centre (ATC) at the KIA.
The press statement said a new ATC, with an improved location and increased capacity to handle projected air traffic levels for the next 15 years, will allow for safe handling of Ghana's air space using the latest traffic control technologies.
Annual aircraft movements have almost doubled since 2002 and Ghana has an extensive Flight Information Region (FIR), including the upper air space for Benin and Togo.
“This (feasibility study) will provide Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) with the specifications and location for the new facility as well as recommend the equipment needed to accommodate both near-term traffic and projected traffic over the next 15 years.”
The expansion of the MSD project is a grant of 235,000 million dollars to fund a feasibility study to modernize the Department.
It is to improve the accuracy and availability of weather information with a central Weather Forecast Office (WFO), equipment for all airports in Ghana, an automated meteorology database and the means to communicate pertinent weather information to aviation, agricultural, energy producing, industrial and water resource users.
The feasibility study would assist MSD in their efforts to improve the accuracy and availability of weather information in Ghana.
MSD plans to establish a central WFO, equip all airports in Ghana with Automated Weather Stations or radar surveillance.
“The proliferation of accurate and timely weather information is expected to improve safety in the aviation sector, optimise agricultural productivity, and assist the management of water and energy resources such as the Akosombo Dam which generates 912 megawatts of electricity for Ghana, Togo and Benin,” the press release said.