One of the baggage carrousels at the airport
Barring any unforeseen delay, the Kumasi International Airport could start operating international flights from August this year, two clear months ahead of the expected time of completion.
In December last year, the contractors working on the airport expansion project, Contracta Construction UK Ltd, told the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) that the project would be completed in October 2022.
However, during a tour of the project by the REGSEC last Tuesday, the Project Manager, Alan Frazeto, told the members that "by September, Kumasi will have an airport that meets international aviation standards and could be ready to start operating international flights."
This follows the steady progress of work done on the expansion project which started in 2018.
So far, the construction of the terminal, as well as the installation of escalators, the baggage carousel, check-in points and passenger boarding bridges have been completed.
While the total work done in both phases two and three of the project is estimated to be about 82 per cent complete, that of the terminal is about 98 per cent complete.
Members of the REGSEC have been visiting all the important project sites in the region quarterly to appraise themselves of the progress of work.
In the first quarter of this year, the team visited all the projects being executed by Contracta in the region, except phase two of the Redevelopment of the Kejetia Market and the Baby and Maternity Block of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
When the Daily Graphic visited the airport project site last Tuesday, it observed that the contractor was undertaking simulation exercises to test the readiness of installed equipment for a smooth take-off later in the year
The luggage carousel for both domestic and international flights was being fixed and the check-in conveyors were tested.
Work was progressing steadily on the new control tower and the utility block that would house the standby generator, fire tenders and other emergency facilities.
Mr Frazeto, who conducted the Daily Graphic around the project, said there had been no major hitch, a situation that had enabled work to progress ahead of the scheduled time of completion, "and barring any unforeseen challenge, the rest of the work currently ongoing should be completed and tested before September".
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, who led the REGSEC team, expressed satisfaction with the progress of work and the fact that they might even complete the project before schedule.
He said he was impressed by the level of improvement from what the team had seen in December when it visited the project.
"As they promised, it means we are even going get the project completed earlier than they said. Previously, when we came here with the President, they assured us that by October 2022, we would start receiving international flights.
"Today, we have been informed that by August, we can open up to international travels, which means that they have been able to move faster, and that is excellent and commendable," he said.
According to Mr Osei-Mensah, almost all the basic facilities required for international flights were available at the airport, saying: "Of the greatest importance to me is that it will have the best scanner, which can even allow flights from here to move directly to the US, something which has been the most difficult eligibility criteria in terms of aviation."
The expansion work at the Kumasi International Airport is a €124.9-million project being undertaken by Contracta Construction UK Ltd.
The scope of work includes the extension of the existing runway pavement from 1,981 metres to 2,320 metres, the construction of a new taxi link and apron, two new apron parking stands and an aeronautical ground lighting system.
Others include the design and building of a terminal with the capacity to handle 800,000 passengers per annum, an 11MW substation, as well as the provision of new bulk utility services, independent of the existing utility services for the airport.
Phase three of the project involves the construction of the air traffic control building and a fire station, as well as the expansion of the existing runway pavement.