Kotoka International Airport

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Kotoka International Airport
Accra Air Force Station
Jan 2019 Kotoka Airport Terminal 3.jpg
Airport typePublic / Military
ServesAccra, Greater Accra
Hub forAfrica World Airlines
Time zoneGMT (0+)
Elevation AMSL205 ft / 62 m
Coordinates05°36′16.8″N 000°10′02.6″W / 5.604667°N 0.167389°W / 5.604667; -0.167389Coordinates: 05°36′16.8″N 000°10′02.6″W / 5.604667°N 0.167389°W / 5.604667; -0.167389
ACC is located in Ghana
Location of the airport in Ghana
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03/21 11,165 3,403 Asphalt
Statistics (2020)

Kotoka International Airport (IATA: ACC, ICAO: DGAA) is an international airport in Accra, the capital of Ghana.[2] It has the capacity for large aircraft such as the Airbus A380.[3] The airport is operated by Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), which has its offices on the airport property.[4]

In 2019, the airport served a record 3.019 million passengers, although this reduced to 1.157 million in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] It presently serves as a hub for domestic and regional operator Africa World Airlines, and a base for domestic operator Passion Air. It is the sole international airport in Ghana.

The airport consists of two passenger terminals, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. Terminal 2 serves only domestic flights, while Terminal 3 serves regional, international and long-haul operators.[5] Terminal 1 is presently no longer in use, but will be redeveloped into an FBO.[6] There is also a VVIP terminal used for diplomatic flights, and a military terminal used for military operations.

The airport has been recognised as the "Best Airport in Africa" (2-5 Million pax per annum) for both 2019 and 2020 by Airports Council International.[7]


The airport was originally a military airport used by the British Royal Air Force during World War II. The facility was handed over to civilian authorities after the war. A development project was launched in 1956 by President Kwame Nkrumah to reconfigure the structure into a terminal building. The project was completed in 1958, turning the military base into an airport with a capacity of 500,000 passengers per year.[8] The airport was originally named Accra International Airport.[9]

In 1969, the Accra International Airport was renamed Kotoka International Airport, in honour of Lieutenant General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka (1926–1967), a member of the National Liberation Council.[10] Kotoka was killed in an abortive coup attempt at a location which is now the forecourt of the airport.[11]

Terminal 3[edit]

Construction officially commenced on 1 March 2016 on a new $274 million Terminal 3 which is capable of handling 5 million passengers a year, with an expansion potential of up to 6.5 million. The sold cutting was done by President John Dramani Mahama and Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan.[12] The new Terminal 3 will handle 1,250 passengers an hour, equipped with three business lounges, large commercial and retail area and six boarding bridges. The terminal opened to passengers on 15 September 2018.[5]

Controversy over airport name[edit]

There has been considerable debate over the years as to whether it was fitting to rename the airport from Accra International Airport to Kotoka International Airport after General Kotoka. Many argue that the airport was built by Nkrumah, and that it is not fitting to rename it after Kotoka, who led a coup to overthrow Nkrumah's government.[13][14][15]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

An Africa World Airlines ERJ-145LR at Kotoka International Airport
Terminal 3 Departure Hall at Kotoka International Airport
Exterior view of Terminal 2 at Kotoka International Airport


Africa World Airlines Abidjan, Abuja, Freetown, Kumasi, Lagos, Monrovia, Takoradi, Tamale, Wa (suspended)[16]
Air Burkina Abidjan, Ouagadougou
Air Côte d'Ivoire Abidjan
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air Peace Lagos (begins 15 March 2021)[17]
ASKY Airlines Banjul, Freetown, Lomé, Monrovia
British Airways London–Gatwick (begins 31 October 2021),[18] London–Heathrow (ends 30 October 2021)
Brussels Airlines Brussels
Delta Air Lines New York–JFK
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Abidjan, Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa
Kenya Airways Freetown, Monrovia, Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta
KLM Amsterdam
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Passion Air Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale
Qatar Airways Doha[19]
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca
RwandAir Kigali
TAP Air Portugal Lisbon, São Tomé
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
United Airlines Washington–Dulles (begins 15 May 2021)[20]


Cargolux Luxembourg
DHL Aviation Abidjan, Lagos
Emirates SkyCargoDubai-Al Maktoum
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Addis Ababa, Lagos, Liège
Air Ghana Abidjan, Lagos,[21] Lome
Turkish Cargo Maastricht/Aachen, Istanbul-Atatürk


The activity of passengers, cargo and flight movements through the airport each year is given in the table below :

Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Dom. pax 132,922 Increase 199,073Increase 543,379Increase 778,466Increase 719,234 Decrease 525,440 Decrease 421,986Decrease 483,261 Increase 415,158Decrease 690,314Increase 423,718Decrease
Intl. pax 1,387,045Increase 1,586,602Increase 1,726,051Increase 1,669,603Decrease 1,650,520Decrease 1,667,675Increase 1,746,669Increase 1,811,428Increase 1,975,803Increase 2,110,593Increase 702,651Decrease
Transit pax 117,478Increase 145,760Increase 154,723Increase 162,305Increase 177,773Increase 157,003Decrease 213,232Increase 214,650Increase 202,451Decrease 218,157Increase 31,041Decrease
Movements 30,104 Increase 32,439 Increase 36,434 Increase 41,934 Increase 41,949 Increase 37,611 Decrease 36,349 Decrease 39,217 Increase 39,255 Increase 46,966 Increase 25,183 Decrease
Cargo (t) 45,615 Increase 50,260 Increase 46,577 Decrease 43,688 Decrease 54,389 Increase 51,325 Decrease 47,678 Decrease 50,360 Increase 52,390 Increase 49,846 Decrease 43,428 Decrease
Source: Ghana Airports Company Limited (Traffic Statistics) [1]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 5 June 2000, a Ghana Airlink Fokker F-27 en route from Tamale to Accra crashed on approach to Kotoka International Airport. Six people were killed.[22]
  • On 28 January 2009, a Ghana International Airlines Boeing 757 operating from Accra to London Gatwick, United Kingdom, with 96 passengers and nine crew reported anomalies with the control systems when climbing out of Accra. The crew declared a mayday and made a safe return to Kotoka International Airport where the remains of a beetle-like creature were discovered to be obstructing the left pitot system.[23]
  • On 2 June 2012, an Allied Air Boeing 727 cargo aircraft operating from Lagos to Accra on behalf of DHL with 4 crew overshot the runway while landing in heavy rain. At least 12 people on the ground were killed. The 4 crew all survived.[24]
  • On 10 January 2015 an ASKY Airlines Boeing 737-43QSF (leased from Ethiopian Airlines), was damaged beyond repair in a landing accident and runway excursion at Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana. The aircraft was written off and there were no fatalities.

Health Issues[edit]

Due to the COVID-19, management of the airport revealed measures to be followed by travelers into the country.[25]


  1. ^ a b c "Traffic Statistics - GACL". Ghana Airports Company Limited. February 2021.
  2. ^ "Accra – the modern heart of West Africa". engineered - thyssenkrupp Company Blog. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  3. ^ "A380 to Accra, Ghana from Dubai on Emirates | Travel News | eTurboNews". Travel News | eTurboNews. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Ghana Airports Company Ltd". Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.. "Ghana Airports Company Ltd".
  5. ^ a b "New Terminal at Accra Airport now fully operational|".
  6. ^ "McDan gets licence to operate private jet section at KIA T1|".
  7. ^ "ACI Awards 2020".
  8. ^ "Ghana Airports Company Limited | Home :: GACL". www.gacl.com.gh. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  9. ^ "KIA History – GACL". Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  10. ^ "KIA History – GACL". Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  11. ^ "GENERAL KOTOKA TRUST ACT, 1969 N.L.C.D. 339". elibrary.jsg.gov.gh. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Mahama, Turkish leader cut sod for Terminal 3 project at KIA". Graphic Online. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Kwame Nkrumah International Airport - Why Not?". www.ghanaweb.com. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Renaming Kotoka International Airport- A slight difference". www.ghanaweb.com. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  15. ^ Graphic, Daily. "Rename Kotoka International Airport - Samia Nkrumah - Graphic Online". www.graphic.com.gh. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Safety challenges in Wa Airport to be addressed soon". The Independent Ghana.
  17. ^ "Air Peace Resumes Flights to Accra". The AfriTraveller.
  18. ^ https://www.britishairways.com/travel/schedules/public/en_gb
  19. ^ "Qatar Airways to launch four weekly flights to Accra". Travel Daily News. 16 September 2020.
  20. ^ https://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/294435/united-adds-washington-accra-service-from-may-2021/
  21. ^ Jim Liu (16 July 2018). "Qatar Airways Cargo schedules one-way Accra – London sector from August 2018". Informa Markets. Routesonline. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Cargo plane crashes in Ghanaian capital, killing 10 on bus". BNO News. 4 June 2012. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  23. ^ "Serious incident" (PDF). aaib.gov.uk (PDF).
  24. ^ "Update: 10 dead as Cargo plane crashes into Hajj Village". edition.myjoyonline.com. 2 August 2012. Archived from the original on 5 June 2012.
  25. ^ "KIA releases revised rules for travellers amidst Covid-19 pandemic - MyJoyOnline.com". www.myjoyonline.com. Retrieved 3 February 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Kotoka International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

Airport information for DGAA at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.