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General News of Friday, 31 January 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Transport Minister Inspects Fako Airstrips

Prof. Robert Nkili Tuesday January 27 evaluated infrastructure in Tiko and Buea.

In continuation of his nationwide deployment to redynamise airspace transportation, the Minister of Transport, Professor Robert Nkili, made a stop-over in Fako Division on 28 January where he inspected the old-time airstrip of Tiko and helicopter landing spaces in Buea. Minister Nkili instructed that the entrance street to the Tiko airstrip be enlarged to enable easier access and hitch-free use during the reunification anniversary event.

The Transport boss' halt in Fako enabled him to judge the level of preparedness of the air transport facilities awaiting the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Cameroon's reunification given that some of the personalities shall be coming in by air. Joel Wadem, Communication head for the Cameroonn Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), explained to the press that Minister Nkili intended to render the Tiko airstrip commercially serviceable and profitable. Mr Wadem revealed that the Ministry of Transport in collaboration with civil aviation authorities, would want to rehabilitate many other airstrips like Tiko in partnership with viable local Councils to open such facilities to small-scale air transporters.

The Ministry of Transport has embarked on a well tailored programme termed "deserte d'amenagement du territoire" aimed at subsidising air transportation where the small carrier planes may not be breaking even with at least 80 per cent seats occupied. The two-kilometre run-way Tiko airstrip, however, offers such potentials as to fit in the new vision of the Transport Ministry.

For one fact, it was conceived during the British colonial days and effectively served to transport persons and the CDC's produce such as bananas. Unfortunately, the structure appears abandoned in recent times with encroachment almost swallowing up the facility. Worse still, the meteorology equipment is nonexistent.