From Monday September 19, 2022 commuters who would want to go in and out of Sunyani by air would not have to worry as the airport reopens. The development is first of all expected to reduce the number of hours commuters spend on traveling in and out of the region.
Secondly, the development is expected to open up the economic growth potential of the region as well as help promote eco and cultural tourism in the Bono Region and beyond.
Bono Regional Minister, Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene made the announcement at a news conference organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday.
“I am happy to report that the airport is ready for use and Passion Air is making it maiden flight on Monday 19 September, 2022” the Minister said with a cheerful posture.
She thanked President Akufo-Addo for seeing to the rehabilitation and the opening of the airport which has been closed down for close to seven years.
The Sunyani Airport was closed to traffic in 2015 due to poor state of infrastructure and other air safety concerns such as cracks and portholes on the runway. The other safety concern was that it was too narrow for safe landing and take-off of aircraft.
This informed the decision of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Ghana Airport Company (GACL) to close the airport to traffic as a precautionary measure.
But in February 2019, the government commenced rehabilitation works on a section of the airport at a cost of GH¢50 million.The runway was extended from 1,280 meters to 1,400 meters while a 90 by 60 metre apron was also constructed. The terminal building was also given a facelift to befit a modern airport.
On August 3, President Akufo-Addo commission the rehabilitated phase of the airport.The President noted that the exercise was the government’s vision to expand the frontiers of the aviation industry in the country and to realise the dream of making Ghana an aviation hub in West Africa.
Based on this vision, the Regional Minister indicated yesterday that discussions are far advanced on the construction of phase two of the project which will see a further expansion of the runway as well as the building of a new terminal.
Aside the update on the airport, Madam Owusu-Banahene also touched on some major developments that have taken place on the road, education and health sectors, since she was charged to man the affairs of the region.
She indicated that the total road network that has been either upgraded or constructed since she resumed office is 4,700km. Out of this figure, the Ghana Highway Authority is said to have constructed 835km while the Department of Urban Roads constructed 1,100km and the Department of Feeder Roads constructed 2,765km.
She mentioned some of these roads to be the Dormaa Ahenkro-Bibianiha road, the Atronie-Mim road and the Ahafo Kenyase–AsukeseMim road. Others are; the Nkrankwanta–Kaase road,as well as the Sampa–Jinini road.
The Minister also touched on some other projects which are non-road project but are meant to facilitate transportation and ease traffic congestion. She made mention of a new transport terminal at Dormaa Ahenkro which comes with a waiting lounge, police post, ambulance bay, fire post, supply and installation of electricity, a storey building with offices, toilet facility, bathrooms and revenue post.
On health, the minister noted that the staff strength with regards to the various specializations namely doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacist, physician assistant and biomedical scientist were not encouraging.
She said that the total staff strength as of 2016 was 2,100 but there has been an increase of 4,356 bringing the total figure to 6,456.
She noted that doctors are now 137 as against 71 in 2016. The number of nurses has also risen to 5,126 from 1,789 while midwives have increased to 1,020 from 169.
She also highlighted the construction of some health infrastructure in some districts and communities including the Tain district hospital, physician assistant bungalow at Jinijini, as well as the Agubie and KonsiaDrobo CHPS compound in the Wenchi and Jaman South districts respectively.
The Minister noted that currently, about 96 education infrastructural projects have been completed while 16 are ongoing.
She said some of these facilities come in 2 unit classroom blocks, 3 units’ classroom blocks, 6 and 12 units classroom blocks.
Aside the three sectors, the Minister also noted that challenges such as chieftaincy and land issues, activities of nomadic herdsmen and armed robbery are also being curtailed in the region.