An aviation expert Dr Yakubu Akparibo has outlined a plethora of reasons why the construction of an airport in Cape Coast will not be a viable option for the country as of now.
According to the Aerospace Medicine Physician, most of the conditions that would serve as a basis for the citing of such a facility in the Central Region are non-existent.
This comes on the back of the promise by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) that it will construct an airport in the area if given the mandate to rule the country in the upcoming December polls.
In his address at the launch of the party’s 2020 manifesto, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia disclosed that the NPP will construct an airport in the Central Region.
“For the people of Cape Coast, I have good news for you. We are building a new harbour in Cape Coast and a new airport in Cape Coast,” he said.
But the aviation expert said it’s better to prioritise other infrastructure and not an airport.
Commercial flights form a major driver of a viable aviation industry, a strength Dr Akparibo said is missing in the Central Region.
Speaking on Joy FM Monday, the Medical Director for CareFlight Ghana told Evans Mensah “we don’t have so many business flights coming from Cape Coast and so that is not feasible.”
“You may want to find out if there are business people who live in Cape Coast or Accra and need to shuttle to and fro and may need to catch some business within the shortest possible time,” he said.
He added, “Cape Coast is not a major hub that you can fly to like Abuja or other cities.”
Central Regional Minister Kwamena Duncan had earlier justified the government manifesto promise saying it has the propensity to open up the region for international investors and boost its economic fortunes.
However, Dr Akparibo explained that it must also be assessed whether these passengers are connecting internationally through Accra to Cape Coast.
This condition he emphasised, is not present in the said context.
“If you have so many people coming into the country through Accra and have to travel to Cape Coast then you have to have budget flight airlines that can shuttle like connecting flights for those passengers…We don’t have so many business flights to Cape Coast so that isn’t feasible,” he explained.
On the issue of safety, he quizzed, “is the Accra airport so congested that we need a second runway which is not possible so we want to look at the nearest city and have an airport there to reroute international flight there?”
Dr Yakubu Akparibu concluded that it is not necessary as the current intake at the Kotoka International Airport is not up to the capacity to merit the siting of an airport in an area as close as Cape Coast.
“The distance between Stansted and Heathrow is about 100 km which is almost like distance from Accra to Cape Coast. You don’t see an aircraft taking off from Heathrow and then landing in Stansted with passengers unless there’s a safety issue,” he added.
His reaction is just one in a number of calls by other experts questioning the necessity of such an infrastructural project at the at the expense of the basic needs of the people in the Region.
A senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Dr Lord Mensah has said the manifesto promise did not make economic sense.
According to him, the traditional routes plied by motorists are dotted with bustling economic activities which could dwindle if this project is to materialise.