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General News
Pilots Warn Of Plane Crashes At Kotoka Airport 4/17/2011
Next time you are onboard an aircraft to Ghana, pray that you land safely because pilots and other aviation experts are raising alarm over potential plane crashes at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Ghana’s only standard airport, as a result of serious disruptions in communication between approaching pilots and the Control Tower.

The alarm which was sounded in a five-page report available to The Herald as “serious security breaches,” is being blamed on private individuals who have massively encroached on state-acquired lands for the airport and illegally built homes, hotels, workshops, vehicle garages and warehouses almost on the flight path or runway.

Apart from the airport, the report shockingly disclosed that the encroachers have also taken over the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Recce Regiment’s Ammunition Dump in which bombs and Military Mowags are kept.

The Herald is informed that both Castle and the National Security Council are panicked by the revelations and are fervidly studying the report.

The grim report prepared by a team of military officers, National Security operatives and officials of Ghana Civil Aviation Authority said the illegal structures are seriously threatening the security of the airport and the safety of the ammunition dump, because aircraft on the runway are easy target for potential saboteur or terrorist from the structures.

A joint inspection tour led by the Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation, Air Commodore K. Mamphey, has confirmed that the flight path from the Main Aircraft Navigation Instrument (VOR) which goes beyond the Motorway and leads to the approach lights (panel lights) to direct approaching aircraft to the centre line of the runway, are in danger.

According to Mr. Mamphey, as a result of the encroachments, pilots using the KIA have persistently complained about serious disruptions in communication with the Control Tower and which has been confirmed to be true. For this reason, Civil Aviation is currently spending over US$2 million to raise the height of the VOR and add on extra instruments to temporarily improve aircraft communication.

A follow-up inspection tour by representatives of Ghana Airport Authority of the extent of the encroachments on the state lands, particularly in the flight path, has confirmed the situation to be accurate.

The security breach came about as a result of Lands Commission grants to Car Dealers, Bulldozer hirers and artisans who were moved from the Achimota Forest area due to the Tetteh Quashie-Achimota-Mallam Road construction, for which they were paid compensation.

Apart from the Lands Commission, the Martey Tsuru Stool also illegally leased State Lands to individuals to build structures, some of which are at different stages of construction.

All such structures should be demolished, while movements near the runway, the VOR and the line panel lights are controlled as it has emerged that the squatters are persistently stealing and tampering with the copper metal conductors of the VOR (Lightening arresters) at the Civil Aviation Aircraft Navigation station, the experts say.

The security breaches identified by the team, if not stopped, could cause aircraft accidents and allow potential saboteur(s) easy access to the runway, aviation experts point out. Additionally, human activities near the GAF /Recce Regiment Magazine/ Ammunition Dump can also lead to breaches which could cause fatalities in the event of the bombs/rounds exploding.

The team has recommended that all the encroachments with regard to the structures in and along the flight path, the VOR buffer zone and the GAF/Recce Regiment Magazine area, should be marked and demolished while the squatters are all removed with immediate effect.

“Lands Commission should be prevailed upon to cancel all the allocations and grants they have made, especially to the Oak Plaza Hotel for Car Park and the Car Ports for the sale of used cars as well as the warehouses along the Spintex Road towards the motorway”, the report said.

The team directed that the Lands Commission should be made to cause the revocation of all the Martey Tsuru Leases to individuals as the area is so close to the runway.

Civil Aviation and the Ghana Airport Authority have been asked to collaborate to sensitize the public through documentaries and in the mass media on how the encroachment could cause disruption of aircraft communication with the tower at KIA and lead to accidents causing serious fatalities.

These could also cause hazards to humans in the flight path and air corridor due to heavy vibrations from aircraft engines and emission of injurious fumes from burnt fuel, the report pointed out. It suggested that the sensitization should precede any intended demolitions in the event of the exercise being approved.

The initial acquisition of the airport lands was in the 1940s which was used as an Aerodrome and a Military Base to support the war effort of the Allied Forces during the Second World War.

The Aerodrome was called the Anti-Amaryl with a military Garrison, now Burma Camp, supporting this Aerodrome/ Airbase.

Further acquisitions were later made to expand the airbase into an international airport which became known as the Anti-Amaryl Aerodrome extension and subsequently, the Teshie and Cantonment with the training area between them.

The training area was named the School of Infantry which now consists of Southern Command, MATS, 48 Engineers Regiment, Command and Staff College, Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre, Acapulco/Harbin area, Nextdoor, the Teshie Range up to the Kpeshie Lagoon bridge.

KIA, initially the Anti-Amaryl Aerodrome, extends through Burma Camp to the Trade Fair Centre and across to the School of Infantry all of which are State acquired lands.


 
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