Kotoka International Airport

Coordinates: 05°36′16.8″N 000°10′02.6″W / 5.604667°N 0.167389°W / 5.604667; -0.167389
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kotoka International Airport
Accra Air Force Station
Airport typePublic
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; -0.167389
ACC is located in Ghana
Location of the airport in Ghana
ACC is located in Africa
ACC (Africa)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03/21 11,165 3,403 Asphalt
Statistics (2022)
Passengers2,805,347 [1]

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

In 2019, the airport served a record of 3 million passengers, although this reduced to 1.2 million in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before rebounding to 2.8 million by 2022.[1] It presently serves as a hub for domestic and regional operator Africa World Airlines, and a base for domestic operator Passion Air.

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] Terminal 3 has the capacity for large aircraft such as the Airbus A380.[7]

The airport has been recognised as the "Best Airport in Africa" (2-5 Million pax per annum) for 2019, 2020 and 2021 by Airports Council International.[8][9]


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.[10] The airport was originally named Accra International Airport.[11]

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.[12] Kotoka was killed in an abortive coup attempt at a location which is now the forecourt of the airport.[13]

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 sod cutting was done by President John Dramani Mahama and Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan.[14] 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 from General Kotoka. Many argue that the airport was built by Nkrumah, and that it is not fitting to name it after Kotoka, who led a coup to overthrow Nkrumah's government.[15][16][17]

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 Abuja, Kumasi, Lagos, Takoradi, Tamale
Air Burkina Abidjan, Ouagadougou
Air Côte d'Ivoire Abidjan
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air Peace Lagos, Monrovia–Roberts[18][19]
ASKY Airlines Banjul, Freetown, Lomé, Monrovia–Roberts
British Airways London–Gatwick,[20] London–Heathrow
Brussels Airlines Brussels
Delta Air Lines New York–JFK
Egyptair Cairo
Emirates Abidjan, Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa
Gianair Obuasi[21]
Ibom Air Lagos[22]
ITA Airways Rome–Fiumicino (begins 5 June 2024)[23]
Kenya Airways Dakar–Diass,[24] Freetown, Monrovia–Roberts, Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta
KLM Amsterdam
Middle East Airlines Beirut
Passion Air Kumasi, Sunyani,[25] Takoradi, Tamale, Wa
Qatar Airways Abidjan, Doha
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca
RwandAir Kigali
South African Airways Johannesburg–OR Tambo
TAP Air Portugal Lisbon, São Tomé
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
United Airlines Washington–Dulles


An ATR 72 freighter of DHL Aviation at Kotoka International Airport

Kotoka International Airport is served by numerous cargo airlines on a regularly scheduled basis, in addition to ad-hoc cargo flights.[26]

In 2016, Air Ghana opened the Ghana Airport Cargo Center, a 10,000 sq.m dedicated cargo warehouse facility supplemented by 9,000 sq.m of office space, in partnership with Ghana Airports Company Limited and Swissport.[27][28]


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

Annual passenger traffic at ACC airport. See Wikidata query.
Airport statistics for Kotoka International Airport, by year[1][29]
Year Domestic pax International pax Transit pax Total passengers Aircraft Movements Cargo (tons)
2010 132,922 Increase 1,387,045 Increase 117,478 Increase 1,637,445 Increase 30,104 Increase 45,615 Increase
2011 199,073 Increase 1,586,602 Increase 145,760 Increase 1,931,435 Increase 32,439 Increase 50,260 Increase
2012 543,379 Increase 1,726,051 Increase 154,723 Increase 2,424,153 Increase 36,434 Increase 46,577 Decrease
2013 778,466 Increase 1,669,603 Decrease 162,305 Increase 2,610,374 Increase 41,934 Increase 43,688 Decrease
2014 719,234 Decrease 1,650,520 Decrease 177,773 Increase 2,547,527 Decrease 41,949 Increase 54,389 Increase
2015 525,440 Decrease 1,667,675 Increase 157,003 Decrease 2,350,118 Decrease 37,611 Decrease 51,325 Decrease
2016 421,986 Decrease 1,746,669 Increase 213,232 Increase 2,381,887 Increase 36,349 Decrease 47,678 Decrease
2017 483,261 Increase 1,811,428 Increase 214,650 Increase 2,509,339 Increase 39,217 Increase 50,360 Increase
2018 415,158 Decrease 1,975,803 Increase 202,451 Decrease 2,593,412 Increase 39,255 Increase 52,390 Increase
2019 690,314 Increase 2,110,593 Increase 218,157 Increase 3,019,064 Increase 46,966 Increase 49,846 Decrease
2020 423,718 Decrease 702,651 Decrease 31,041 Decrease 1,157,410 Decrease 25,183 Decrease 43,428 Decrease
2021 722,721 Increase 1,269,898 Increase 117,008 Increase 2,109,627 Increase 37,870 Increase 46,700 Increase
2022 852,101 Increase 1,800,341 Increase 152,905 Increase 2,805,347 Increase 43,970 Increase 38,998 Decrease

Airport City[edit]

Airport City enclave in Accra at night in 2020

Airport City Accra is an urban development centered around Kotoka International Airport.

The development is promoted by Ghana Airports Company Limited on the principle that airports have ceased to be mere terminals, but rather economic growth outlets to promote trade and generate employment.[30]

Developments within Airport City include retail outlets such as Marina Mall and One Airport Square, hotels such as Accra Marriott Hotel, ibis Styles Accra and Holiday Inn Accra Airport, as well as corporate offices for companies such as Africa World Airlines and Vodafone Ghana.[31] Projects underway include the five-star Pullman Accra Airport City by Accor and the Protea Hotel by Marriott Accra Airport.[32][33]

International airlines such as American Airlines,[34] Brussels Airlines[35] and Turkish Airlines[36] also have their ticketing and sales offices located within Airport City.

Airport City is expected to host multiple stations on the proposed Accra Sky Train system.[37]

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.[38]
  • 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.[39]
  • 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.[40]
  • On 28 October 2014, a Starbow BAe 146-200 from Accra to Takoradi Airport with 77 people on board suffered a hydraulic failure during climbout. The crew were forced to make an emergency landing in Accra without flaps, resulting in damage to the landing gear and a fire. Two persons were injured in the resulting emergency evacuation. The aircraft was written off.[41]
  • 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. The aircraft was written off and there were no fatalities.[42]
Damaged Starbow ATR 72-500 on display near Tamale
  • On 25 November 2017, a Starbow ATR 72-500 suffered a runway excursion due to the captain's seat sliding backward during the take-off roll. The aircraft struck the airport perimeter fence before coming to a halt. Five passengers were injured and the aircraft was written off with significant damage.This incident was similar to Air India express flight 611[43]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic flights in Ghana were suspended from 30 March 2020, but resumed on 1 May 2020 under enhanced sanitary protocols.[44] Ghana was the first African country to resume domestic flights after a COVID-related suspension.[45]

The international air borders of Ghana reopened for travelers on 1 September 2020, subject to certain conditions.[46] Passengers were required to undergo a PCR test in their country of origin no more than 72 hours prior to departure, and also undergo a further rapid antigen test upon arrival at Kotoka International Airport. A laboratory was set up at the airport for prompt processing of test results. The cost of the tests were set at US$50 for citizens of ECOWAS countries, and US$150 for all other citizens. Those testing negative on both tests were permitted to enter Ghana without any further quarantine or restrictions, subject to clearance by Ghana Immigration Service.[47]

In February 2021, the process of awarding the contract for testing at the airport to Frontiers Healthcare came under scrutiny for its lack of transparency during the vetting hearings for various ministers appointed to the second cabinet of President Nana Akufo-Addo.[48][49]

In March 2022, the parliamentary opposition threatened to demonstrate at the airport in protest against the continued high costs for on-arrival testing of passengers.[50] Industry experts also warned that the high costs of testing were likely to suppress passenger numbers for 2022 if not addressed as a priority.[51] In response to this, the testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers were waived effective 28 March 2022.[52]


  1. ^ a b c "Traffic Statistics - GACL". Ghana Airports Company Limited. February 2022.
  2. ^ "Accra – the modern heart of West Africa". engineered - thyssenkrupp Company Blog. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Ghana Airports Company Ltd". Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.. "Ghana Airports Company Ltd".
  4. ^ "Airports in Ghana". Ghana Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b "New Terminal at Accra Airport now fully operational|".
  6. ^ "McDan gets license to operate private jet section at KIA T1|". 27 March 2019.
  7. ^ "A380 to Accra, Ghana from Dubai on Emirates | Travel News | eTurboNews". Travel News | eTurboNews. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  8. ^ "ACI Awards 2020". Archived from the original on 1 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Ghana's Kotoka Receives Best in Africa Airport Awards". 10 March 2022. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Ghana Airports Company Limited | Home :: GACL". www.gacl.com.gh. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  11. ^ "KIA History – GACL". Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  12. ^ "KIA History – GACL". Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  13. ^ "GENERAL KOTOKA TRUST ACT, 1969 N.L.C.D. 339". elibrary.jsg.gov.gh. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Mahama, Turkish leader cut sod for Terminal 3 project at KIA". Graphic Online. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Kwame Nkrumah International Airport - Why Not?". Ghanaweb. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Renaming Kotoka International Airport- A slight difference". www.ghanaweb.com. 30 November 2001. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  17. ^ Graphic, Daily. "Rename Kotoka International Airport - Samia Nkrumah - Graphic Online". www.graphic.com.gh. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Air Peace expands regional connectivity, resumes Monrovia's flight operations". 21 November 2022.
  19. ^ "Air Peace Resumes Flights to Accra". The AfriTraveller. 2 March 2021.
  20. ^ Timetables
  21. ^ "Gianair commences Accra-Obuasi flights". GianAir. 21 March 2016.
  22. ^ "Ibom Air Schedules mid-October 2023 International Debut". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 22 September 2023.
  23. ^ Machado, João (11 October 2023). "ITA Airways announces seven new destinations for Summer 2024". Aviaci Online - Últimas noticias de aviación de Argentina, Latinoamérica y el mundo. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  24. ^ "Kenya Airways Resumes Accra – Dakar Sector From mid-Dec 2022". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  25. ^ "PassionAir sets September to begin flight operations to Sunyani Airport".
  26. ^ "Cargo Airlines - GACL". Ghana Airports Company Limited. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  27. ^ "Ghana Airport Cargo Center (GACC)". GACC.
  28. ^ "Official Opening for Ghana Airport Cargo Centre". Air Cargo News. 31 October 2016.
  29. ^ "Aviation Statistics". Ghana Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  30. ^ Kofi Yeboah (17 June 2013). "Accra Airport City on the fast lane". Modern Ghana. Daily Graphic.
  31. ^ "Airport City". Ghana Airports Company Limited. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  32. ^ "Top Structure Construction to Continue at Pullman Accra Airport City in 2021". Building and Decor. 2 December 2020.
  33. ^ Jena Tesse Fox (20 November 2018). "Marriott bringing Protea to Ghana's capital city". Hotel Management Magazine.
  34. ^ "Ticket sales centers". American Airlines. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  35. ^ "Contact us - Local office". Brussels Airlines. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  36. ^ "Our Offices". Turkish Airlines. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  37. ^ Joe Sargent (20 November 2019). "Ghana to build US$2.6 billion SkyTrain". KHL Group.
  38. ^ "Ghana Air Link Fokker F-27 plane crash". 1001crash.com. 5 June 2000. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  39. ^ "Serious incident" (PDF). aaib.gov.uk (PDF).
  40. ^ "Update: 10 dead as Cargo plane crashes into Hajj Village". edition.myjoyonline.com. 2 August 2012. Archived from the original on 5 June 2012.
  41. ^ "Accident: Starbow B462 at Accra on Oct 28th 2014, hydraulic failure". Aviation Herald.
  42. ^ "Accident: Ethiopian B734 at Accra on Jan 10th 2015, runway excursion". Aviation Herald.
  43. ^ "Accident: Starbow AT72 at Accra on Nov 25th 2017, runway excursion during takeoff due to sliding pilot seat". Aviation Herald.
  44. ^ "Coronavirus: Ghana resumes domestic flights with strict health safety protocols". panapress.com. Pan African News Agency. 4 May 2020.
  45. ^ Joanna Bailey (16 July 2020). "How Africa World Airlines Is Making The Most of COVID". Simple Flying.
  46. ^ "Traveling to Ghana during COVID-19?". CNN.com. 30 December 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  47. ^ "KIA releases revised rules for travellers amidst Covid-19 pandemic - MyJoyOnline.com". www.myjoyonline.com. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  48. ^ Osei Owusu Amankwaah (17 February 2021). "Transparency issues stain world-class COVID-19 test regime at KIA – aviation expert". Business and Financial Times.
  49. ^ "KIA Covid-19 testing: Minority demands bi-partisan inquiry into Frontiers Healthcare". ModernGhana.com. StarFM. 19 February 2021.
  50. ^ "Minority threatens protest at Kotoka if COVID-19 testing isn't made free". Citi News. 23 March 2022.
  51. ^ Charles Ayitey (24 March 2022). "Unfavourable COVID-19 testing regime at KIA could drive away international travellers – Aviation Expert". myJoyOnline.com. Joy News.
  52. ^ Bobbie Osei (29 March 2022). "Ghana's international air traffic in 2022 should exceed 2.1 million – Sean Mendis". CitiBusinessNews.com. Citi News.

External links[edit]