Ghana Airports Company nears US$350m loan deal

The Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) is to finalise a US$350million long-term funding arrangement by the close of the year.

The amount is the first tranche of a US$600million facility GACL is to raise from private sources that is to be invested over a three-year period for enhancing airport infrastructure and services.

Ecobank Ghana is leading a syndicate of banks to raise the required funds.

Mr. Charles Asare, Managing Director of the company, told the B&FT on the sidelines of the official inauguration of the aeronautical ground lighting system at the Kumasi Airport that: “We are quite close. Financing is what you do, based on the market. We will most likely close the first tranche which gives us what we need for the first phase of our projects before the end of the year, about US$350million; the second phase will happen next year.”

The amount is to be expended on the on-going expansion works at the arrival hall of the existing terminal at Kotoka International Airport (KIA), and the building of an ultra-modern terminal three at KIA that will have six aero-bridges.

The Kumasi and Sunyani Airports are also expected to benefit from the US$350million facility.

President John Dramani Mahama and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, officially inaugurated the newly-installed aeronautical ground lighting system (AGL) at the Kumasi Airport in the Ashanti Region on Monday.

The completion of rehabilitation works on the 1,981-metre long runway and installation of the AGL at the airport will now make it possible for domestic carriers — Africa World Airlines, Starbow and Antrak — to operate flights between Accra and Kumasi after sundown all year round.

Domestic air carriers are excited about the latest developments at Kumasi Airport, as the opportunity to fly at night is absolutely crucial for domestic airlines struggling to break-even due to the hitherto limited operating time of 12 hours per day.

Though the Kumasi Airport was declared an international airport in 2003, certain facilities have been missing — making it impossible for the airport to operate as such.

“With the inauguration of the aeronautical ground lighting system, we will have restored an important missing link. It will extend the window of operations for the airport and for travellers for about another six hours,” said Mr. Asare

Passengers arriving at the Kotoka International Airport from abroad, usually late in the evening, can now connect a flight to Kumasi to be with their families the same day.

Business travellers can now fly into Accra from Kumasi, spend the whole day transacting their business, and fly back to Kumasi as late as 10pm.

Kumasi airport now handles more than 2.5million passengers per month, a huge increase from the 700, 000 recorded in 2008.

“The terminal building at Kumasi Airport is not adequate. The first phase is rehabilitation and remodelling. We intend to redesign and build a new terminal here. It is now in the concept design stage, and by the end of 2015 we should be able to decide what the concept is,” he said.

Source : B&FT