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Tamale Airport finally gets a long over-due facelift


After waiting eons for a facelift that will ultimately upgrade its status from a regional hub to an international hub, the long-neglected Tamale airport is finally getting a spruce, one that should have been implemented decades ago but for political interference from southerners who would rather the airport be situated in their part of the country.

Against the backdrop of shrubby vegetation, the Tamale Airport, at first glance has the weary, melancholy look of an abandoned military outpost tucked on the fringes of the Sahara desert. With an oversized runway and a smattering of military and civilian buildings spread across a vast expanse of land, the airport looks like an empty shell.  But it is not.

Aesthetics aside, the airport is the gateway to the northern regions of Ghana. Once used primarily as a military airport, it is now a commercial hub for the nation’s rapidly expanding airline industry.

It is estimated that the cost of refurbishing the airport will run into billions of cedis —-an astronomical pile of dough, if you ask me, but despite the projected cost and the predictable din of opposition from southern blowhards, it will be a prudent investment.

And here is why: Tamale is the fastest growing metropolis in the West African region according to the latest report on urban growth and the city contributes in a myriad of ways to the economic development of the country. It therefore rightly deserves an international airport befitting its status.

Plans to expand and modernize the airport have been on the drawing board for years. In fact, the late Dr. Nkrumah intended to overhaul the airport but the CIA financed military putsch of 1966 derailed his plans.

It is also important to note that since independence, every major infrastructural project earmarked for the northern regions has been scrutinized, analyzed and vetted by southern politicians for obvious reasons.

It did not help that subsequent civilian and military administrations  demonstrated little interest in transforming the airport, except mouthing the usual pronouncements and promises that we often hear from politicians frantically scouring for votes.

Though still in its infant stages, the project has already attracted vile opposition from the usual suspects — southern antagonists. The arguments they trot out against the project are shallow and illogical.  What these naysayers fail to take into consideration are the enormous economic benefits that would accrue from the project. Below is a sampling of some of the benefits:

  • An expansion of the airport with modern facilities — runways, passenger lounges, restaurants and shops —- will invariably attract more airlines, drive up competition among them which in turn would drive down airfares and increase passenger volume.
  • Modernizing and upgrading the Tamale airport will also spur the growth of aviation-related industries. These industries will need workers who can be tapped from the vast pool of the unemployed in the north.
  • If all goes well, within a decade the city would become the economic engine that would drive the entire northern regions as commerce between the northern regions and their southern neighbors increase.
  • Commercial transactions between the northern half of the country— with Tamale as the strategic staging point — and our neighbors, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger,will assume new dimensions. Currently, no such commercial relationship exists.
  • Improving the airport will change the dynamics of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and greatly enhance the hopes and prayers of the hundreds of devout Muslims who make the journey from the northern regions
  • For a change, they won’t have to travel to Accra where they are housed in plastic tents adjacent to Kotoka International Airport like refugees fleeing natural disasters or wars.
  • Their airfares and traveling time to Mecca will be substantially reduced, and family and friends can visit while they await flights to the holy land.

All in all, the airport expansion is a win-win situation for Tamale, the traveling public and the nation at large. The city has a huge potential that remains to be tapped by local and foreign investors. Any economic initiative is bound to spark growth, leading inexorably to the huge economic transformation of the city and the northern regions.



1 Comment
  1. Barrister says

    Let’s educate the citizens of northern region, so that they support in development and cry for their future.
    Thanks bro!!

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