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27 September 2016

Encroachers threaten safe landing of flights at KIA

bombing-planeIllegal developments near the security zone of the Kotoka International Airport are posing a threat to the safe landing of flights, and the B&FT understands that security agencies have begun demolishing some of the structures.

A warehouse owned by a foreign businessman built close to the airport runway lights near Gate 44, has been demolished, after several warnings for the project to be halted were ignored.

The warehouse was built right in the Clear Zone and Accident Potential Zone, which is an area at the end of the Kotoka International Airport Runway towards East Legon.

Several other structures have been earmarked for demolition, with the security agencies warning that developers who continue to encroach on KIA lands will be prosecuted.

The minimum buffer from the end of the runway towards East Legon ought to be 1200 meters by internationally accepted standards. It ought to be clear of all human activity.

The area has, however, been encroached upon, with some developers coming as close as 300 meters to the end of the runway.

The KIA Security Zone stretches from El-Wak Traffic lights to the Air Force Base at Burma Camp on the northern side, and from the Air Force Base to Mante Tsuru, on the western side.

The southern side extends from Mante Tsuru, crossing the Tema Motorway to the VHF Omni Directional Radio Range sited at East Legon close to the under pass; and the eastern boundary extends from the boundary with Action Chapel through the new airport by-pass, stretching through the Polo Grounds to the Airport roundabout and straight to El-Wak traffic lights.

The Accident Potential Zone extends from the end of the runway at KIA to the VOR sited about 200meters north of the East Legon Underpass. The existing and on-going developments around the VOR possess a danger to safe flight operations.

The East Legon Police Station, and a number of schools and houses around the area are exposed to potential aircraft accidents. In emergency cases, flights may dump fuel to be able to land safely within this area. Data suggests that more than 80 percent of all aircraft accidents happen within this Zone.

The National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) in 2014, declared the land area of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) a security zone.

The Secretariat noted that: “It has come to the notice of the NSCS that there is a lot of pressure by private developers on the KIA land close to the Airport Installations and this trend has so far caused massive encroachment on the airport environment, posing grave threat to flight operations and creating hazards such as bird strikes and stray animals on the runway.”

This notwithstanding, encroaches are still busily developing portions of the airport lands oblivious of the dangers their action poses, necessitating the action of the security agencies.

The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), in line with the Ghana Civil Aviation (Amendment) Act 2016 (Act 906), recently directed all potential property owners to apply for certification before erecting any structure close to all airports and navigational installations in the country. The Authority, by the new legislation, is empowered to demolish any high-rise building that poses a threat to flights.

A recent Obstruction and Land Use Conference” (OLUC) in Accra, warned that: “Encroachment and incompatible land uses are threatening the continued safety and security of airports and aircraft operations and the orderly development of aerodromes in several African countries, including Ghana.”

Various high-rise buildings within 30-kilometer radius of the KIA have the potential to obstruct and distort the wind direction within the zone.

At night, the lighting from developments in the KIA enclave obscures the peculiar illumination used in the aviation industry, for the runway at the KIA,

 

Source: B&FT

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