President John Mahama has officially inaugurated the first international flight departure from the Tamale International Airport as first batch of 500 pilgrims fly to Jeddah.
The next batch which is another 500 will leave tomorrow and the third batch of another 500 will also leave on Sunday August 21.
This is the first time pilgrims are moving directly from Tamale to Jeddah.
The National Hajj board said this move will make it convenient for all prospective pilgrims from the three regions of the North who hitherto had to travel to Accra.
President John Dramani Mahama in his inaugural speech, promised to make the Tamale Airport the hub of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to the Holy land of Mecca. President Mahama said the Airport’s upgraded status will open up the Northern Region to the rest of the world.
He added that the upgraded Tamale Airport has facilities which can be likened to the Kotoka International Airport.
He anticipated that the upgraded Tamale Airport will boost economic activities within the Savannah ecological zone. He commended management of the Ghana Airports Company and management of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, for making possible the construction of the first phase of the Tamale Airport.
He revealed that the second phase of the Tamale Airport would be turned into a maintenance facility to attract other European flights. He further said the second phase will have a crafts village to make it possible for the airlifting of artefacts to international markets.
President Mahama mentioned the Wa airfield, Ho, Sunyani and Kumasi Airports where similar upgrading projects are underway. He explained that all these interventions are meant to economically empower Ghanaian citizens in line with his administration’s transforming lives agenda. He said it is his desire to locate two more Shea nut factories in the Upper East and Upper West Regions, to create enough jobs for the youth. On agriculture, President Mahama promised to establish a fertilizer processing plant to produce cheap and readily available fertilizer to improve the agricultural value chain.
He said government had procured 500 new tractors for distribution to farmers at a 50 percent discount. He renewed calls on the electorate to renew his mandate at the 2016 polls to enable him make Ghana competitive especially in the aviation industry as means of increasing the economic base of the Ghana Airports Company.
He urged the pilgrims to continue praying for the nation’s peace and stability before, during and after the 2016 elections in December. President Mahama said the upgraded Tamale Airport is a dream come true as the late President John Evans Atta Mills promised the chiefs and people of the Northern Region during the 2008 camoaign