Kotoka International Airport
The first thing that hits me when I arrive at Kotoka International Airport is the heat. Extreme yet glorious heat. It hits so hard sometimes that I almost forget to breathe!
There is no better feeling as my mind starts preparing my taste buds for the kelewele which we’ll buy near Atomic Junction en route home.
Located just 10 km north of Accra city centre, Kotoka International Airport was named after Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka – an army officer who was killed near the airport during an attempted coup in 1966.
No need to fret – those ‘coup days’ are long gone – thank God! These days Ghana is arguable Africa’s most stable democracy.
Being the only major/international airport in the country, it’s
often referred to as Accra Airport – or just Airport. In fact it’s situated on Airport Road so that tells its own story.
It’s also the main hub for Ghana Airways’ replacement, Ghana International Airlines.
Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is served by major airlines such as: Air Ivoire (Abidjan); Alitalia (Milan/Malpensa);Bellview Airlines (Lagos); British Airways (London/Heathrow); Egyptair (Cairo); Emirates (Dubai); Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa); KLM (Amsterdam); Lufthansa (Frankfurt); Virgin Nigeria (Lagos) and South African Airways (Johannesburg).
You can also board domestic flights to the airports of Tamale (in the Northern Region), Asamankese (Eastern Region) and Kumasi Airport (Ashanti Region).As a child, going to the Airport was a family day out.
In those days they use to have a (roof-top) public gallery – the area above the word ‘akwaaba’ in the picture on the left – where we would stand and see off our loved ones onto the Ghana Airways DC10.
But that wasn’t the end of it. We would wait and wave them off as the plane took off and disappeared into the horizon.
Over the last few years a major refurbishment programme has seen the Airport and its facilities improved greatly including a new baggage hall, and new arrival & departure terminals. Apparently some $80 Million US Dollars or so has been spent/earmarked.
To be completely honest, there is still a great deal of work to be done but it’s a start. If you’re use to traveling via airports such Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport visiting a country such as Ghana will have some challenges. You just need to be patient.
The only advice I would offer for your departure is to arrive early. Most international flights out of KIA leave at night so Accra Airport can be very busy at these times. Luckily most airlines allow you to check in some 6 or so hours in advance. I take full advantage of this and then head down to Osu for one last taste.