Transport Minister, Kweku Ofori Asiamah has warned telecommunication companies who have installed their masts along flight paths leading to the Wa airport to as a matter of urgency remove them or have them forcibly removed by the ministry.
The move according to the Transport Minister is to enable commercial flights resume operations at the Wa airport.
‘‘It is our responsibility to remind them, the responsibility of removing the mast they have erected there to enable flights come. We will give them a reminder and [if] they refuse, I think it is our responsibility to provide safety for our people, the planes will come. We are not going to allow the mast to be a stumbling block to commercial flights operation in Wa.
“The land that the government has acquired to build an airport for the people of this country cannot be encroached by any individual. They have encroached on it. We are going to use all legal means to ensure that they don’t come back,” he warned.
Operators of Commercial flights since March 2020 has halted operations at the Wa airport due to the citing of telecommunication mast on the flight path.
Mr Asiamah who was speaking at Wa as part of his day’s tour stated that “when we have assets that the whole Ghana is supposed to benefit from and you have companies who want to deprive us of the usage of those assets. Those individual companies or individual people who want to make money at the expense of the nation, we should begin to think of it again.
“One company has erected a mast and as a result of that, the commercial flights are unable to fly to Wa which is very serious. If you are using the road, you will use about 15 hours but if you are going by air you use 1 hour 10 minutes
The minister said apart from the nationals from Burkina Faso who prefer to use the route to Wa because it’s shorter”.
According to Mr Asaimah the National Security, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Ghana Airport Company and the National Communication Authority have complained to the telecommunication companies but they have refused to heed to their directive.
Since then there have been several visits made by ministers from the aviation ministry to the airport to abreast themselves of factors which have halted the smooth operations of commercial flights at the airport.
Members of the Upper West regional house of chiefs in their last meeting with President Akufo-Addo a few weeks ago appealed to him to help work on the challenges which have halted the operations of the commercial flights from the Wa Airport.
President Akufo-Addo tasked the Transport Minister to ensure that these challenges are worked on. Together with officials of the Civil aviation and the Ghana Airport company he took a tour of the Wa Airport to acquaint himself with the challenges to address them.
The euphoria that greeted the resumption of commercial flights in the Upper West Region suddenly ended on a dull note after 17 months of its operation by Africa World Airline.
However, the Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih has disclosed that the halting of commercial flights at the Wa Airport has negatively impacted the lives of the people.
Dr. Salih welcomed the move taken by the Transport Minister to ensure that the telecommunication masts are removed as it hinders several of their initiatives. He revealed that plans made by the Upper West Regional hospital to have doctors always fly in to attend to patients have all failed as the result of the halting of the flights.
The other issue he cited was the Simon Diedong Dombo University of business and integrated development studies which have plans of mounting a law faculty but has been stalled as a result of the non-availability of commercial flights to the Upper West regional capital.
The Transport Minister later called on the overlord of the Waala traditional area, Naa Fuseini Pelpuo IV and his subjects to brief his mission in the traditional area before heading back to the airport to fly to Accra.