AIRLINES ABANDON HO-AIRPORT DUE TO LACK OF PATRONAGE.
Seems the excitement of having the Ho Airport start operations is now short-lived as PassionAir which started running commercial flights between Accra to the Ho Airport last December has halted its operation due to low patronage amidst the rise in the price of Aviation fuel.
Passion Air has stated that it has had about 20 flights to Ho and had only processed 350 passengers and then the Planes are always less than half empty before take off.
Whiles Tamale, Wa, and Kumasi have been doing great and reeking in profits. And then Africa World Airlines which is owned by the King of Ho, Togbe Afede XIV has also halted plans to commence operations at the Airport.
So now who is to blame for this?
Is it the Government who invested $25mlion dollars in building the Airport in Ho without doing proper feasibility studies or the Voltarians who have “refused” to patronize the 15 minutes flight to Ho and the ultra-modern Airport built for them?
Ho is indeed the Capital city of the Volta Region but then it hasn’t got any viable Tourist destinations to attract people to Ho, except for the fact that it is the Capital city of the Volta Region. And then fact remains that trade and business in Ho is not anything to build an Airport to promote.
Good roads and better sewage to help stop the periodic flooding when it rains could have been a better plan. So situating the Airport in Ho to promote Tourism and Trade was not a well-thought-out plan at all.
Whoever did the feasibility studies failed all of us. Now the other problem is that it doesn’t make sense to want to travel to Keta which has become a thriving Tourist destination by first going to Ho by Air.
From Accra to Keta is about 3 hours on very good roads and then from Ho to Keta is about 2 and a half hours on very very bad roads. So nobody coming to Keta or Southern Volta for that matter would seek to pass through Ho first since the remaining road trips to your destination after reaching Ho is on very very bad roads.
And then Hohoe which is the most visited Tourist site around Ho is about 1 and a half hours from Ho. And you need to take car twice when you reach the Ho Airport to get to Hohoe.
First from the Airport to the Ho town and then from the Ho town to Hohoe.So despite the fact, that Ho is the Capital city of the Volta Region, it barely has a well-structured Tourism or Trade economy to attract Tourists and Traders.
Unless something Creative is done, the Ho Airport may soon become a white elephant and a grazing grounds for cows. First, the Government should try and fix the Ho to Aflao road as soon as possible.
Aflao remains the busiest town for Trading in thenVolta Region since it is the border town leading to Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. So it can be possible to attract those traveling to all these Countries especially Lomé and Nigeria to buy goods or visit. But it has to involve an exciting package to attract them.
There should be an “Aflao Lorry Station” and if possible a “Hohoe Lorry Station” at the Ho Airport and it should be run by a single company.
The amount of people traveling to Aflao on a daily for business is huge and the Airport needs to tap into this. And then Keta is about 30 minutes drive from Aflao and so Tourists coming to Keta to experience the beautiful beaches can opt to fly first to Ho then be driven to Aflao and then get a car from there to Keta.
And the Airlines need to start organizing trips to the Tourist sites in the Volta Region or give the Tourism advocates discounts and exclusive opportunities to organize trips in collaboration with the Airlines or the Airport.
I know so many people who would love to travel to Volta on a road trip and we can make them first fly to the Volta Region before taking them on a road trip by car and then back to take the plane back to Accra so they can swerve all the traffic.
We should not sit aloof whiles the Ho Airport becomes a white elephant. The Harbour in Keta remains a fleeting illusion to be pursued but then, building the Airport has already been achieved and we must not let it fail.