Friday, February 10, 2012

Bad weather forces closure of Takoradi Airport

Authorities at the Airforce Station in Takoradi have on the advice of the Ghana Metrological Agency closed down the Takoradi Airport to flights due to poor visibility as a result of severe harmattan.

The closure according to operators of domestic airlines is denying them huge revenue.

The Takoradi Airport, which is now one of the busiest in the country due to the oil boom, was virtually empty when Maxx News visited there on Thursday.

Air travels have been suspended since Tuesday February 7, because of impairment in visibility due to the severity of the harmattan.

Some persons who had arrived to book their flights went back disappointed.

Officials of Starbow Airlines, Citilink and Fly 540 who spoke to Maxx Business say they are losing revenue particularly at a time when business was gradually booming.

“Visibility is very poor and now we don’t know when things are going to be okay and it has really affected us because our passengers are disappointed. People are willing to fly and we can’t meet their demands” Juliet Segbedzi, an official of Starbow Airlines in Takoradi lamented.

It has really affected our operations because we can’ send our customers to where they want to go. So we are losing customers and we are losing money too. We are losing 1,500 dollars a day. Some understand that it is not our fault. Others too come and they have to go back so we just have to manage it” says Penny Violet-Dufe, Customer Service and Retail Sales Agent for Fly 540.

“So far, we’ve had to cancel about seven flights. If we are looking at each of these rotations costing at least a minimum of 5,000 dollars, then we are looking at over 35,000 dollars. We are hoping that by tomorrow, the weather would have cleared up so we can resume delivering our good service to them. It’s not our making. It’s the doing of nature and sometimes you have to allow nature to take its course” that’s according to Daniel Appiah-Danquah, Takoradi Manager for Citilink.

The oil industry is said to have been dealt a heavy blow because those who work on the oil rigs are not able to travel onshore and vice-versa.

The Western Regional Director of the Ghana Metrological Agency David Perry Osika could not tell when the Airport would be reopened for business, but says visibility could become better by the weekend.

“At times we even experience the harmattan in April. But for now, it is hoped that this one will be the last. Unfortunately it came with thick dark haze impairing the visibility most drastically to less than 1,000 metres. For that matter humidity is very low, and the lower the humidity, the drier the atmosphere. For now humidity is gradually picking up but still below 60%. So the atmosphere is very dry” he explained.

“As a result of the impairment in visibility the Airport has closed because Aircrafts cannot land. On Tuesday we had two helicopters flying to the rig, but they could not take off after they arrived. From the prognosis, we expect that by Friday, the visibility will be picking up. But it will not be so drastic. It will just improve gradually, and hopefully by next week, we will have good visibility for flights to resume” he said.


No comments:

Post a Comment