Table of Contents
This informative article summarises all you need to you about airports in Ghana and domestic and international air travel in Ghana. it also has elaborate frequently asked questions about travelling by air in Ghana.
Airports in Ghana
The following table gives the full list of airports in Ghana, their location, ICAO and IATA Codes
|Kotoka International Airport||Accra||DGAA||ACC|
1 Kotoka International Airport
Kotoka International Airport is an international airport in Accra, the capital of Ghana, operated by Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), which has its offices on the airport property. It is the sole international airport in Ghana.
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. 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. Terminal 1 is presently no longer in use but it is to be redeveloped into a Fixed based Operator (FBO) where aeroplanes can get refuelled, serviced and receive flight instructions.
Terminal 3 has the capacity for large aircraft such as the Airbus A380. There is also a VVIP terminal used for diplomatic flights, and a military terminal used for military operations.
Best Airport in Africa
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.
Who built Kotoka International Airport?
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. The airport was originally named Accra International Airport.
Why the name Kotoka?
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. Kotoka was killed in an abortive coup attempt at a location that is now the forecourt of the airport.
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.
- The new Terminal 3 will handle 1,250 passengers an hour,
- Equipped with three business lounges,
- A large commercial and retail area
- Six boarding bridges.
The terminal opened to passengers on 15 September 2018
Naming Kotaka Airport
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
Operating Passenger Airlines
Kotoka International Airport is served by the following list of airlines;
|1||Africa World Airlines||Abuja, Freetown, Kumasi, Lagos, Monrovia–Roberts, Takoradi, Tamale|
|2||Air Burkina||Abidjan, Ouagadougou|
|3||Air Côte d’Ivoire||Abidjan|
|4||Air France||Paris–Charles de Gaulle|
|6||ASKY Airlines||Banjul, Freetown, Lomé, Monrovia–Roberts|
|9||Delta Air Lines||New York–JFK|
|12||Ethiopian Airlines||Addis Ababa|
|14||Kenya Airways||Freetown, Monrovia–Roberts, Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta|
|16||Middle East Airlines||Beirut|
|17||Passion Air||Ho, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale, Wa|
|19||Royal Air Maroc||Casablanca|
|21||South African Airways||Johannesburg–OR Tambo|
|22||TAP Air Portugal||Lisbon, São Tomé|
|23||Titan Airways||Charter: Saint Helena|
Operating Cargo Airlines
Kotoka International Airport is served by numerous cargo airlines on a regularly scheduled basis, in addition to ad-hoc cargo flights.
- Air Ghana
- DHL Aviation
- Emirates SkyCargo
- Ethiopian Airlines Cargo
- Qatar Airways Cargo
- Turkish Cargo
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
2 Kumasi Airport
Kumasi Airport is a national airport in Ghana serving Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region. In 2019, the airport handled 376,823 passengers making it the second busiest airport in Ghana after Kotoka International Airport in Accra. This number reduced to 229,127 in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kumasi International Airport is located 6 kilometres (4 mi) from Kumasi. It was changed from a military base into an airport in 1999. The airport has undergone several renovation and expansion projects to help push its status as an international airport.
Who built Kumasi Airport?
Approval to start an airport in Kumasi by the then British government was obtained in 1940, even though the land acquisition documentation was completed and paid for in 1947. Prior to that, in 1943, the Kumasi Airport had been completed and was in use. The airport was started as a military air force base for the British Royal Air Force during World War II.
There were extensive developments on the runway, navigational facilities as well as human resources in 1958 and 1959 by the Government of Ghana to ensure the enhancement of internal airline operations.
In the late 1970s, there was a major uplift through installations of runway and Taxiway lights and an extension of the main runway to the southern part of the Airport.
On 1 December 1993, a new Terminal building and the installation of a VOR/DME were commissioned by President Jerry John Rawlings. The airport was changed from a full military base into a domestic airport in 1999.
In 2008, renovation works were done by Bans Consult limited at the airport including the rehabilitation of the arrival and departure halls, the control room, rescue and fire station and the construction of a VIP Lounge ahead of the African Cup of Nations 2008 (CAN 2008) which Ghana was hosting.
Kumasi Airport as an International Airport
The Kumasi Airport attained its international status but only operated on a regional level with a full complement of security customs and immigration staff in place in 2003, even though it had attained that status, work to upgrade the physical structures were yet to be put in place fully. The Kumasi Airport has undergone several rehabilitation and upgrades to become help ensure its status as an international airport.
In 2012, initial renovation works were started on the existing facilities to involve patching and filling of cracks on the main runway, construction of additional waiting rooms and building a car park to make way for future renovation and upgrades targeted for the following year.
Kumasi Airport Expansion – Phase 1
In 2013, the Government of Ghana embarked upon a phased development of the Kumasi Airport to provide the requisite infrastructure for safe domestic and international operations to ensure safety and comfort for passengers whilst ensuring Ghana had a fully functioning international airport along with Kotoka International Airport.
Phase 1 works to upgrade the Kumasi Airport to international standards was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. The first phase consisted of the rehabilitation of the defective runway and the installation of airfield lights and aeronautical ground lights on the runway to facilitate night operations at the airport. The commissioning of Phase 1 which happened in December 2014, was earmarked with a historic first-night landing by the then President John Dramani Mahama. Prior to this upgrade, an Instrument Landing System (ILS) was installed to aid pilots for take-off and land.
Kumasi Airport Expansion – Phase 2
Plans to start working on phase 2 which is to cost around €65 million had been decided by November 2016, the project covered mainly the construction of a new two-storey ultra-modern terminal of 7,000 square metres of space based on a 400-passenger per hour and an annual passenger traffic forecast of 1,500,000, parking areas and a ring road around the airport. The building also includes spaces like VVIP and VIP lounges, restaurants, commercial areas, three boarding gates, a central screening system for passengers, and IATA standard baggage handling system and also offices for the airline companies.
In December 2016, President John Dramani Mahama along with a representative of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asafohene Acheamfuo Kwame Akowuah cut the sod for work to begin on the second phase of the Kumasi Airport project by Contracta Engenhiria Ltd
In June 2018, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut another sod for the second phase of the expansion of Kumasi Airport, which is expected to be completed in 24 months. It will see the expansion of the runway from 1,981 meters to 2,300 meters, and the
construction of a new terminal building with a capacity of 1 million passengers per year.
Kumasi Airport Expansion – Phase 3
In April 2019, the Parliament of Ghana approved a budget of €58.9 million for Phase 3 of the development of the Kumasi Airport. Phase 3 includes an extension of the terminal building, a fire station, fire access routes and an air control tower. The third phase also includes the extension of the car park and the extension of the access roads, an apron extension and a runway strip and an airside service road. The second and third phases are currently being done concurrently and are expected to be completed by October 2022.
3 Tamale Airport
Tamale Airport is an airport serving Tamale, a town in the Northern Region of Ghana. It is the third busiest airport in Ghana, with 148,545 passengers in 2020. Others from the neighbouring districts also enjoy its service.
Upgrade to international status – History
The Tamale Airport was temporarily upgraded to the status of an international airport, with all the necessary facilities. It gained international status in December 2008. The facilities put in place include a runway, taxiways, aprons, terminal, modified fire service building, rehabilitation of the tower building, a car park and a VVIP lounge. Others are the provision of offices for the Customs, Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) and the Immigration Services.
The airport received its first international flights during the CAN 2008 African Cup of nations.
2016 Hajj pilgrims
In August 2016 Tamale International airport was cleared to uplift pilgrims to Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madina in 3 batches of 500 passengers. Flynas air services providers were contracted to uplift the pilgrims using leased Lion Air Boeing 747-400 jets.
Paga Airport/Airstrip is an airstrip serving Paga and Navrongo, towns in Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region of Ghana. The airport was initially constructed to help land soldiers to defend the country’s borders in case of attacks.
5 Takoradi Airport
Takoradi Airport is an airport in Sekondi-Takoradi, a city and capital of Western Region southern Ghana. It is the fourth busiest airport in Ghana, with 113,803 passengers in 2019.
World War II: Takoradi air route – History
During World War II, the United States Army Air Forces Air Transport Command Trans-Africa Ferry Route was a major transportation link between the Atlantic Ocean port of Lagos in Nigeria, and Sudan, which is one of the main routes for Lend-Lease aircraft sent to Russia, and other supplies sent to British forces in Egypt and the Middle East. The route had been pioneered in 1936 by Imperial Airways but was dramatically expanded during the war.
Takoradi Airport was a major refuelling stop between Robertsfield, the airport the U.S. built to serve Liberia’s capital Monrovia, and Apapa Airport, Nigeria. Takoradi Airport was used as a Royal Air Force station known as “RAF Takoradi”, where crated aircraft, that had been shipped over the Atlantic, were assembled prior to being flown to operational areas in North Africa. 26 Squadron SAAF was also based in Takoradi during World War II flying Vickers Wellington bombers on anti-submarine and convoy protection patrols over the Atlantic.
A number of South African Air Force airmen are buried in the Takoradi European Public cemetery adjoining the Airport.
Takoradi Airport serves as the primary shore base for helicopter transfer to offshore oil platforms in Ghana’s Jubilee Oil Field.
Ghana Air Force’s 1 Squadron operating Harbin Z-9H and Flight Training School (FTS) operating Diamond DA-42 is based out of Takoradi Air Base.
6 Sunyani Airport
Sunyani Airport is an airport serving Sunyani, a town and capital of Bono Region mid-western Ghana.
7 Wa Airport
Wa Airport is an airport serving Wa, a city in the Upper West Region of Ghana which is also its capital. The airport is operated by Ghana Airports Company Limited. The land was acquired by the Government in the year 1958.
The airport opened to scheduled commercial flight operations on 15 October 2019 with service by Africa World Airlines from Accra via Tamale using an Embraer 145 regional jet.
Services were suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remain suspended pending resolution of various safety challenges.
8 Yendi Airport
Yendi Airport is an airport serving Yendi, a town in the Northern Region of Ghana.
9 Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)
The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is the regulatory agency of the Republic of Ghana for air transportation in the country.
It also provides air navigation services within the Accra Flight Information Region (FIR), which comprises the airspace over the Republic of Ghana and a large area over the Atlantic Ocean in the Gulf of Guinea.
The GCAA was established in 1930 as a unit with Public Works Department (PWD); in 1953 GCAA was granted Departmental Status. It became an Authority under PNDC Law 151 from 16th May 1986. In the year 2004, the GCAA Act was enacted to replace PNDC Law 151.
The Civil Aviation Act, Act 678 of November 2004 provides for the establishment of a Civil Aviation Authority, which will focus on the core functions of Airspace management and Safety Regulations whilst allowing for a different organization to handle Airport development and operations.
Pursuant to the above, the GCAA was restructured into two bodies, that is, the new GHANA Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) on 1st January 2007.
Functions of GCAA under ACT 678
Under the GCAA Act 678, the functions of GCAA include the following:
- Licensing and Certification of Air Transport Operators
- Licensing and Certification of Aerodromes and the Construction, Operation, Maintenance and Managements of Navigation Sites.
- Provision of Air Navigation Services (Air Space Management) within the Accra Flight Information Region (FIR).
- Regulation of Air Transport Services.
- Promoting the Development of Civil Air Transport Industry in Ghana.
- Advising Government on all matters Concerning Civil Aviation, among other functions.
- Provision of oversight for all activities related to civil aviation.
10 Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQs) about travelling by air in Ghana
How do I qualify for my rights as a passenger in Ghana?
Once you purchase an air ticket to embark on a journey, have a confirmed reservation, present yourself in time for check-in or have duly checked in, you qualify for your rights.
How early should I arrive at the airport for check-in when I am embarking on a journey?
As a general rule, you should aim to be at the airport at least 2 hours before the scheduled departure time of your flight. Also, ensure that you pay attention to the check-in time indicated on the ticket by the air operator’s/agent.
How will I know my rights as a passenger?
Your rights are stated in the Conditions of Carriage which form part of the ticket you purchase and can also be found on the air operator’s website.
Where you are not clear with the conditions, you may seek clarification from the air operator.
You may also resort to the Ghana Civil Aviation (Economic) Directives, Part 2 – Consumer Protection, which can be found on the GCAA website
Where will I find information with regards to the procedures to address passenger complaints?
You will find displayed in the arrival, departure as well as transit halls, information in respect of the GCAA’s procedures to address passenger complaints.
What happens if I am denied boarding?
You are entitled to benefits to be agreed upon between you and the air operator if you volunteer to surrender your reservation.
Volunteers shall in addition be entitled to Right to Care which includes among others: meals, refreshments, hotel accommodation, transport and communication relative to the waiting time.
In the case where you were denied boarding against your will, you will be compensated with the Cedi equivalent of US$60 for domestic flights, and for international flights US$200, US$400 and US$600 respectively depending on the distance to the destination.
You may also be reimbursed, or re-routed and provided with hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel or your place of accommodation where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary as a result.
You will be offered two phone calls free of charge (at a duration to be determined), an SMS, a fax message, or an e-mail as you may prefer.
What happens when my flight is cancelled?
You will be re-routed under comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at your convenience, or you will be reimbursed within seven (7) days the full cost of the ticket at the price it was bought for the part or parts of the journey not made, or for the parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to your original travel plan.
You will also be offered meals/refreshments relative to the waiting time; transport and hotel accommodation where the stay of one or more nights becomes necessary.
You are entitled to compensation as an international passenger unless you were: informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure, or you were informed of the cancellation between two weeks to seven days before the scheduled time of departure.
You are entitled to compensation as a domestic passenger unless you are: informed of the cancellation at least three (3) days before the scheduled time of departure, or within three (3) days to the scheduled time of departure.
In all cases, you are entitled to information, assistance and care as specified in the GCA Consumer Protection Directives.
You are also entitled to compensation unless it can be proven that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.
On the other hand, the Air Operator shall not be obliged to pay compensation if it can be proven that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided.
What happens when my flight is delayed?
If you were delayed on a Domestic Flight, you shall be offered water immediately after one hour.
For two hours and beyond you will be offered two (2) telephone calls, an SMS, or an e-mail as you may prefer.
If the airport is closed, you will be offered hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel or your place of accommodation; or you may be reimbursed or re-routed as you may prefer.
On the other hand, if you were delayed on an International Flight, you will be offered water immediately after one (1) hour; refreshments, meals, two phone calls, SMS or e-mails between two (2) to six (6) hours after the scheduled time of departure.
Hotel accommodation and transport will be provided if the expected time of departure is at least 6 hours after the original time of departure.
In the event of Tarmac delay, you will be provided assistance by the Air Operator: water/refreshments/meal relative to the duration of the delay while onboard, then you will also be disembarked by the Air operator when the delay exceeds three hours.
When purchasing my ticket, should I pay any extra fees in addition to that which is advertised by the air operator?
No, all advertised tickets should be inclusive of all fees, charges and taxes.
Who should I complain to when I have issues with my air operator?
First contact the air operator’s Customer Service desk, or where a desk is unavailable, contact the officer appointed to receive/resolve complaints for your concerns to be addressed.
If you are not satisfied with the resolution received, you may lodge a complaint with the GCAA Consumer Protection Section for redress.
If you are still not satisfied with all the above, you may take legal action.
What do l do when my baggage is damaged, delayed, or missing?
Report to the air operator’s representative if your bag does not arrive with you on the flight
Contact the air operator’s representative immediately after discovering damage to baggage.
Contact the air operator at the latest fourteen (14) days in case of delayed baggage from the date on which the baggage was placed at its disposal.
If after the expiration of twenty-one (21) days your baggage has still not been found, it is declared lost and you are entitled to enforce your rights against the air operator as stated in their conditions of carriage.
What should I do if I am downgraded/upgraded?
Report to the air operator stating your claim with ticket(s) and boarding pass(es).
If the Air Operator places you in a class of service lower than that for which your ticket was purchased, you will be refunded within seven days the difference in fare of the classes, and in addition, be compensated with:
– The Cedi equivalent of US$60 for domestic flights, and for international flights US$200, US$400 and US$600 respectively depending on the distance to the destination; or
– You will be compensated in accordance with the Air Operator’s Conditions of Carriage,
whichever of the two is higher
Where you are placed in a class of service higher than you purchased the ticket, the air operator shall not request any supplementary payment.
Can Persons with Disabilities travel by air?
Yes; you must at the point of purchase of a ticket, let the air operator know your disabilities and the assistance you may require to facilitate your travel.
ICAO Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation 1944 (the Chicago Convention), Security – Safeguarding International Civil Aviation against Acts of Unlawful Interference (March 2011), defines a disruptive passenger as: “A passenger who fails to respect the rules of conduct at an airport or on board an aircraft or to follow the instructions of the airport staff or crew members and thereby disturbs the good order and discipline at an airport or on board the aircraft”.
Accordingly, always ensure that you respect the rules of conduct at the airport/on board an aircraft and follow instructions of airport staff/aircraft crew members.