New Dangers At Kotoka Int. Airport...
There are growing fears that the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) may be hit by another major air disaster in the not too distant future.
Many residents of Accra have been calling The Globe newspaper to complain about increasing air traffic signal interferences on their mobile phones, radio and television sets. The interferences, they say, emanate from both the air traffic control tower of the KIA and pilots whose planes are either landing or taking off at the capital’s only airport.
The complaints follow an editorial published in last Tuesday’s edition of The Globe in which the paper called on authorities to take bold steps to “save” Ghana’s only international airport, which has come under siege from encroachers.
“You turn on your radio these days and all you hear every now and then are pilots communicating with the tower and vice versa. I am not an expert, but I believe this can be dangerous I think,” said Constance, a resident of Labone. “This issue of signal interference has become very serious these days.”
Another Accra resident, Kwame, who lives inside Cantonments, told our reporters: “I think something is seriously wrong with the wiring and communication gadgets at the airport. I can’t understand why my radio will be receiving signals from the tower and from planes landing at the airport. Something must be wrong.”
More than a dozen other residents whose homes are located within the immediate suburbs of the KIA made similar claims in an interview with this paper and expressed fears that the trend could lead to another air disaster in the national capital.
News of the signal interferences come during ongoing investigations into a bloody plane crash that killed 10 people just outside the KIA. The Allied Air plane skidded off the runway upon touching down and struck a mini bus on the 37-Burma Camp road. All the occupants of the mini bus perished on the spot. The plane’s crew of four men, however, survived and assisting investigations into the crash.
Long before the June 2 plane crash, news reports have been sounding the alarm bells and painting pictures of a looming disaster at the airport. The reports followed official investigations which showed that incoming planes had serious difficulties communicating with the KIA tower because of strong interferences believed to be originating from privately-owned facilities built around the airport.
On April 15, 2011 a leaked National Security report made news headlines, highlighting the increasing danger encroachers were posing to the safety of flights coming in and flying out of the KIA.
“The lands Commission should be encouraged 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 prepared by a team of military officers, National Security operatives and officials of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, said.
Speaking to The Globe, the Deputy Minister for Transport, Dzifa Attivor, said only investigations can ascertain the veracity of the concerns of residents around the airport. “There have been some concerns from pilots flying to and from Kumasi airport that they have had their communication with the control tower interrupted. They could hear conversation on mobile phones and also transmission from radio stations. A complaint was made to the National Communications Authority and a team from both NCA and GCAA were deployed and the NCA has been able to rectify the situation,” she said.
She added: “For KIA, there have not been complaints from the pilots but if concerns are being raised by the general public that they could hear the communication between pilots and the control tower, then there would be the need for an investigation in order to address the concerns being raised by residents around the airport.”