Kotoka International Airport underwent a major transformation project that involved the construction of a new passenger terminal. Credit: Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL).
The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new Terminal 3 at Kotoka International Airport took place in March 2016. Credit: Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL).
KIA’s new terminal can accommodate up to five million passengers a year. Credit: Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL).
Terminal 3 at KIA has six aircraft contact stands. Credit: Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL).
The new terminal features two additional remote stands. Credit: Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL).
The new terminal can be accessed from a new main road, which was constructed as part of the project. Credit: Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL).

Airport operator and manager Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) broke ground on the construction of its flagship project (Terminal 3) at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in March 2016.

The new terminal construction was completed in June 2018 and it was opened to traffic three months later.

The project is a part of GACL’s capital investment programme that involves the construction of a new terminal at KIA, the only international airport in the country, and the rehabilitation of other regional airports managed by GACL.

The existing two terminals will be able to reduce operations with the new terminal, which is expected to handle up to five million passengers a year, with an expansion potential of up to 6.5 million passengers.

The two-year expansion at Accra airport is expected to generate 900 temporary jobs and 760 permanent jobs during the operations and maintenance phase.

The Kotoka airport handled approximately 2.8 million passengers and 46,996 aircraft in 2019.

Kotoka International Airport’s expansion objectives

The expansion of Kotoka International Airport supports the country’s ambition to upgrade its vital infrastructure by modernising and transforming the Kotoka airport into a gateway for West Africa and as a regional aviation hub. It also contributes to the country’s economy by facilitating market connectivity and reducing business costs.

KIA’s expansion also supports the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda that emphasises the need for rehabilitating and expanding infrastructural facilities in the transport sector.

The project is also in line with the priorities identified in the National Airport System Plan 2014.

Kotoka International Airport’s new terminal design details

The new terminal at Kotoka International Airport was designed in accordance with the latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements based on the optimal service level.

“The new terminal can handle up to five million passengers a year with an expansion potential up to 6.5 million passengers.”

The access to the terminal is provided through a new main road, which was constructed as part of the project. The main entrance is located in front of the central check-in hall, making it easy to enter the terminal. The check-in hall incorporates expressive forms reflecting Ghanaian culture and values. A surface car park is located within a walking distance from the terminal.

Accra airport Terminal 3 details

Designed for international traffic, the new terminal has five levels spread across an area of 45,000m². The terminal features six contact stands for Code E aircraft and two additional remote stands.

The new terminal has the capacity to process 1,250 passengers at peak times, large retail and commercial area, three business lounges, six fixed links and seven air bridges expandable to eight. Parking spaces are available with the capacity to handle more than 700 cars.

The departures level of the terminal features 56 check-in desks, 30 passport control counters, including four e-gate positions and eight security lanes. The arrival level has 24 immigration counters, four e-gate positions expandable to eight and four baggage claim areas.

A fully automated baggage handling system designed in accordance with the latest European Civil Aviation Conference Hold Baggage Screening (ECAC HBS) requirements is also provided to handle 3,500 bags an hour.

Terminal 3 project financing

The programme $400m investment includes renovations to the GACL-owned regional airports. In September 2015, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a $120m loan with a tenor of up to 15 years for the project. It is the first private sector investment made by the bank in Ghana’s transport sector.

The remaining costs were financed partly by AfDB and partly through corporate loans from other development financial institutions and commercial banks.

Contractors involved

Turkish construction company Mapa Construction MNG Holding (Mapa İnşaat ve Ticaret) was contracted for the Kotoka airport Terminal 3 project design and build concept.

Arup supported Mapa Construction by providing planning, architectural design and engineering services for the new terminal.

Micheletti acted as the main civil works subcontractor for the construction of the T3 modern terminal at the Accra airport.

Ghana Airports Company entered a five-year agreement with SITA for the maintenance and operations of all key systems across the new terminal in October 2019.