By the end of December 2014, passengers travelling through the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) would have some relief from the congestion and long queues that characterize activities at the arrival and immigration halls at the airport.
The Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) began work two weeks ago on the Terminal 2 arrival hall expansion project, which according to officials, is expected to add an additional 5,148 m2 floor area to the existing 6,031m2 and would last until the end of 2015.
The KIA has been facing some challenges coping with increase in passenger numbers in past couple of years, far exceeding the capacity of the airport infrastructure. International departures and arrivals increased from 1.5 million in 2011 to 1.7million in 2012, while domestic arrivals and departures increased from about 200,000 to 550,000 in the same period. These figures were expected to increase in 2013.
The first part of the project, which is set to be completed by end of2014, would involve construction of the expanded terminal area, expansion of the immigration area and installation extra immigration and customs desks. There would also be provision and installation of two new baggage handling equipment for the arrival hall. The existing three have already been replaced with new ones with x-ray scanners.
Enquiries by the GNA also reveal that as part of the expanQASsion, there would be other electrical, mechanical and plumping works done including the installation of telecommunication systems like telephones, public address and CCTV system, air conditioning and signage works.
The second phase is the construction of two top floors which would serve as airline offices and offices for staff of the GACL. The $21.4 million project is being funded by internally generated funds of the Ghana airports company limited (GACL) and is being undertaken by contractors; Amandi Holdings Limited.
Aside this project, the KIA would see some major improvements in the coming months, as improvements are being done to various parts of the airport, with plans to build a new international departure terminal to release the pressure on the existing one. The first phase for the construction of Terminal ’3′, which involved prequalification of interested firms for the construction, has been done and is awaiting approval, after which the next phase; an invitation for technical and financial proposals would be implemented. The contract would then be awarded to the successful candidate, based on approval by the national procurement board.
The design built concept is expected to be completed by August 2016 and international departures would be moved to the new terminal while major rehabilitations works are done on the existing terminal building.
In the meantime, efforts are being made to make the existing terminal operationally effective. From 15th February 2014, work was started on the refurbishment of the washroom in the international departure terminal in order to ensure passengers comfort. Work has also started to install new CCTV camera in the departure hall in order to improve security.
Most importantly, a contract has been awarded to ARG Africa for the replacement of the escalator in the departure terminal which has been broken for some months now and installation of a second elevator. An order has been made for the equipment. Delivery and installation of the equipment is expected to take six months.
Other improvements are also being made airside at the KIA. In preparation to accommodate the aircrafts as large as the Boeing 747-800, the taxiway is being expanded from 27meters wide to 60meters.
Also under the KIA Phase III rehabilitation project, which is ongoing, and expected to be completed in August 2016, another apron would be constructed to accommodate more wide bodied aircraft, aeronautical ground lighting would also be installed, while the fuel main at the airport would be extended to the cargo apron to allow cargo aircraft to refuel directly from their apron without having to load and go for refueling at the passenger apron as is done now.
Work has also begun on repair of the aircraft touchdown zone. This area has developed cracks and has rubber deposits from the aircraft tires, leading to a reduction in friction, which is not good for the landing aircraft.
Similar works are also planned for the regional airports especially Kumasi and Tamale, which aeronautical ground lights expected to be fitted at both airports in order to allow night flights to those destinations.
With these improvements, it is hoped that the KIA would be better equipped to live up to its reputation of being the aviation hub and gateway to Africa.
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