The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is funding the feasibility study for the development of aircrafts' Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra.
The 1.2 million dollar feasibility studies was commissioned by Mrs Stephanie S. Sullivan, the United States Ambassador to Ghana.
The study will be conducted by aviation MRO experts from the US - the US company Alton Aviation Consultancy - in collaboration with the Ghanaian company, Aerojet Limited.
The Agreement for the conduct of the feasibility studies was signed between Mr Jonathan M. Berger, the Managing Director, Alton Aviation Consultancy, and Mr Mazisi Parkes, Chief Executive Officer, Aerojet Aviation Limited.
It was witnessed by Mrs Sullivan, Mr Hassan Tampuli, the Deputy Minister of Transport, and Mr Kofi Amankwah-Manu, the Deputy Minister of Defence.
The feasibility study is a critical foundation before the implementation of the project, which would establish the first full-service MRO facility in West Africa.
No matter how minor or complicated the repair, airlines must repair their aircraft at a certified MRO.
In addition, scheduled preventive maintenance must be completed by a certified MRO facility on every aircraft in active service.
MRO facilities in Africa only represent approximately four per cent of the global MRO market, with no MRO facility in West Africa.
This study builds on previous USTDA feasibility study support in 2009, 2011 and 2012 to undertake enhancement at the Kotoka International Airport.
Mr Berger said the business planning and feasibility studies would be completed by the end of this year.
He said the main construction works, which would take 18 months to complete, would begin next year.
Mrs Sullivan, on her part, said: "Having an MRO at the KIA presents Ghana with the opportunity to propel itself into a regional and global leader in the aviation sector and boost regional economic growth, safety, security and mobility," said Mrs Sullivan.
She said conducting the feasibility studies at KIA would send a clear signal that Ghana was committed to becoming a regional leader in the aviation sector.
Mrs Sullivan said in previous discussions, the Government and aviation and transportation officials had identified an MRO facility as a priority for Ghana and the sub-region.
"And we are happy that the USTDA, the US Agency that turns dreams into actions, is able to provide a grant for this feasibility study," she said.
She recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his June 16 address to the US Chamber of Commerce, made a case for US investment in Ghana and noted that making Ghana a regional hub was a top economic priority for the Government.
Madam Sullivan noted that having an MRO at the KIA would also be an incredibly important step towards making that dream a reality.
Mr Kweku Ofori-Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, in a speech read on his behalf, said the eventual development of an MRO facility in Ghana would not only satisfy the market needs but also serve as a more convenient and cost-efficient facility for maintenance of airlines in the region.
It would also make Ghana the first country in West Africa to have an established MRO facility, he said.
Mr Ofori-Asiamah said for an assignment of that nature, multi-stakeholder engagements, consultations and endorsement across spheres of industry players and stakeholders would be very key to the successful implementation of the feasibility studies and its eventual take off.
"We are committed to the process and ready to cooperate fully with Aerojet Aviation Ltd and Alton Aviation Consultancy to execute the assignment," he said.
Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of Defence, in a statement read on his behalf, said the project was very important and relevant to the Ministry's mandate and, therefore, committed to supporting it in its entirety as part of Government's industrialisation drive.
Mr Yaw Kwakwa, the Managing Director, Ghana Airport Company, said the MRO facility, when established, would make Ghana the aviation hub in the sub-region.