Commercial flights which were halted due to dismantling of Vodafone telecommunication mast and trees are set to resume at Wa-Accra Airport in Ghana, Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih has revealed.
Though the exact date for resumption was not given, Salih confidently stated that many airlines have expressed interest in the Wa-Accra route and he was positive that it won’t take ages.
“I have written to the Transport Minister, copied the Ghana Airport Company and Africa World Airline, informing them of the dismantling of the mast. As to when they will start, I am unable to tell when they will resume but I believe strongly that it will be soon”.
He said he was optimistic about the benefit that the people will derive from resumption of commercial flights operations.The halting of commercial flights at the Wa airport, he said, in march 2020 has negatively impacted the economic fortunes of the people.
“Travelers have to revert to their old ways of traveling to the nation’s capital through road transport. This they do by sitting in vehicles for at least 12 hours in the over 700 kilometers.”
This was seconded by Transport Minister, Kweku Ofori Asiamah a couple of months ago during his tour day at the airport.
He said,“One company has erected a mast and as a result of that, the commercial flights are unable to fly to Wa which is very serious. If you are using the road, you will use about 15 hours but if you are going by air you use 1 hour 10 minutes.”
He warned telecommunication companies who have installed their masts along flight paths leading to the Wa airport to as a matter of urgency remove them or have them forcibly removed by the ministry to pave way for commercial flights to resume operations in the region.
‘‘It is our responsibility to remind them, the responsibility of removing the mast they have erected there to enable flights come. We will give them a reminder and [if] they refuse, I think it is our responsibility to provide safety for our people, the planes will come. We are not going to allow the mast to be a stumbling block to commercial flights operation in Wa.
“The land that the government has acquired to build an airport for the people of this country cannot be encroached by any individual. They have encroached on it. We are going to use all legal means to ensure that they don’t come back,” he said.
Asiamah further stressed that companies who want to deprive Ghana of the usage of those assets the country is supposed to benefit from, will not be tolerated.
“Those individual companies or individual people who want to make money at the expense of the nation, should begin to think of it again.”
However, upon returning to the site on Tuesday, July 28, the mast had been removed. Only a few ancillary equipment could be spotted.
Again, some trees planted closer to the Wa airport and alleged to be hindering operations were also hacked down.
Dr Bin Salih disclosed that the Upper West Region has been given the greenlight to host the North Ghana Development Summit which he intends to invite top government officials, foreign envoys, and ambassadors from different countries.
“Most of them will like to fly by air for the summit. So, if commercial flights start operations, it will make it much easier to organize the summit better for the region. So, it’s the beginning of good things to come,” he added.
By Joyce Mukucha