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An artist impression of the new Terminal 3, which will have an annual capacity of 5 million passengers. When it’s completed in 2017, the modern terminal will facilitate the growth of the aviation industry in the country │© IFII

Accra’s Kotoka International Airport becoming a regional hub for air travel

Situated 10 kilometres from the centre of Accra, Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is the first point of call for businesspeople as well as tourists visiting the country.

KIA, the only international airport in Ghana, is fast becoming the regional hub for air travel in West Africa. Thanks to Ghana’s increasing profile as a preferred business hub and tourist destination, KIA has seen passenger numbers rise from 689,969 in 2001 to 1,522,307 in 2011, representing more than 100 per cent growth in a decade. In fact, passenger usage grew to 2.547 million in 2014.

The airport consists of two passenger terminals, labelled as Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Terminal 1 serves primarily domestic and regional operators, while Terminal 2 serves international and long-haul operators. The terminals are connected by an internal walkway.

Construction officially commenced on 1 March 2016 on a new $250 million Terminal 3 which is capable of handling 1,250 passengers an hour and will be equipped with new state of the art facilities. The terminal is expected to be completed by end of July 2017

The airport is open 24 hours a day and serves 33 scheduled airlines. The rise in KIA’s importance is revealed by looking at the airlines that use the airport: the major international carriers such as KLM, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Tap Portugal are all present here, in addition to leading African airlines such as Arik Air, Ethiopian, Kenyan Airways, Egypt Air, South African Airways and Royal Air Maroc.

Airbus has predicted that Accra will become an “airline megacity” by 2030, meaning KIA will handle 10,000 or more long-haul passengers a day.  Addis Ababa, Luanda, Lagos and Nairobi are the other cities that the aircraft maker expects to achieve the status of “airline megacities” in Africa by 2030. Johannesburg is already one.

The good fortunes of KIA can be attributed to the commencement of oil production in Ghana, which at the same time is fast becoming more popular as a tourist destination and international conference host.

Among the countries linked to Accra, it comes as no surprise to find that sub-regional giant Nigeria is the largest destination, accounting for 20 per cent of the total passenger traffic at KIA.

On the domestic network, five Ghanaian airlines – Antrak Air, Air Shuttle, City Link, Starbow and Flight 540 – operate local flights connecting the airports in Accra, Kumasi, Sunyani, Takoradi and Tamale.

Owing to the many international airlines flying to Accra, Ghana is now well connected to the world, which makes visiting the country easier.

Femi Awoniyi

LEBARA

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