Ho Airport, Key to Volta Region’s Economic Boost, Remains Dormant Six Years Post-Completion

Passion Air’s Cease in Operations Leaves Once Vibrant Hub Struggling for Viability

The Ho Airport, strategically developed to invigorate the economy of the Volta Region and neighboring areas, continues to lie dormant nearly six years after its completion.

A recent visit to the facility revealed its well-maintained condition, but since Passion Air discontinued operations on the Accra route in March 2022, the airport has transformed into a near ‘ghost town,’ urging a revival to generate revenue for the $25 million loan and cover operational expenses like utilities.

According to data from the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), approximately GH¢2.42 million has been spent on maintaining the facility in the last two years post the suspension of commercial operations. Out of this, GH¢1.59 million was allocated to cleaning and janitorial services, external works, and waste management.

Despite its idle state, the airport incurs an annual maintenance cost of GH¢1.21 million, putting a strain on state resources.

Efforts to persuade domestic airlines to resume operations faced setbacks due to challenges such as technical issues, escalating operational costs, and insufficient demand on the Accra-Ho route.

The Ho Airport, inaugurated in September 2018, boasts a 1,900-meter runway, an aircraft parking area, a terminal accommodating 150,000 passengers yearly, VIP and VVIP facilities, staff parking, and a comprehensive network of surrounding roads. Despite its potential to enhance trade, tourism, and employment opportunities, the facility has yet to fulfill its envisioned role.

Local responses to the dormant airport express concerns over its impact on businesses, with transport operators facing hardships and residents eager for the resumption of flights to alleviate travel challenges.

GACL Managing Director, Yvonne Nana Afriyie Opare, stated that ongoing discussions with Africa World Airlines (AWA) aim to establish an Aviation Training Organization (ATO) at the airport, fostering an internationally recognized pilot training school and creating conditions for the resumption of commercial flights.

Recent inspections by GACL and AWA officials at the Ho Airport marked progress toward the development of an aviation academy and flight facilities, reinforcing the commitment to transform the dormant facility into a hub for aviation training and services.

Industry experts cite a lack of airline capacity and the opportunity cost of operating to less established routes as challenges hindering the airport’s immediate revival. However, plans for a pilot training center are viewed positively as a step towards maintaining activity and realizing the airport’s potential beyond commercial flights.

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