Wa — The Ministry of Aviation in conjunction with the Ghana Airports Company Limited and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority on Tuesday opened the Wa Airport for commencement of commercial flights.
And immediately, the Africa World Airlines has begun operating from Wa to Accra and Tamale thrice a week.
With support from the Regional Coordinating Council, residents in Wa welcomed the first commercial flight at the airport, a 50-seater Embraer E145 which was flown by Mr Victor Pul and conveyed the Deputy Minister for Aviation, Mr Yaw Afful, together with other dignitaries as well as passengers from Accra to the region.
Opening the facility at the forecourt of the terminal, the Deputy Minister, Mr Afful stated that the opening of the facility was as a result of the commitment and efforts of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's government to improve air transport connectivity between the nation's capital, Accra and other regional capitals.
The move was also in line with strategic policies and plan of action to open up the country by promoting air transport activities.
The Wa Airport has a 2-kilometre tarmac stretching 40 metres width, with the capacity to host Code C type of aircraft together with Boeing 737-700 Airbus. It also has a completed terminal and other ancillary facilities.
"This is by extension a part of plans geared towards making Ghana an aviation hub within the ECOWAS sub region and also promoting economic activities in the region, and that is why a lot of work has gone into the processes to open the place," Mr Afful stated.
He indicated that the Aviation Ministry and its agencies took the necessary steps to ensure that the Wa Airport and all other airports in Ghana operated within the stipulated confines of the relevant international civil aviation organisations regulations and mandated best practices.
The Deputy Minister stated that the strict adherence to the regulations and practices ensured that Ghana attained the highest score of 89.9 per cent in the whole of Africa by an assessment that was conducted by international civil aviation regulators early this year, making Ghana the best aviation safety and security zone in Africa and enabling the country to receive two awards from the group in Canada.
For his part, the Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih reiterated that the operationalisation of the airport was going to boost economic activities and contribute to the development of the region.
He was confident that the move would enhance tourism of the area as many tourists would be encouraged to travel to the region by flight considering its timeliness and safety.
"With the opening of this facility, we can easily fly specialists in and out of the region to attend to emergency cases at the new regional hospital in cases where there are none at the facility," Dr Salih stated.
The Regional Minister commended the chiefs in the region for supporting the government to conduct diligence on the facility to ensure it met international standards before opening it for commercial flights.