May 30, 2024


I am no aviation guru, but I do love research so do indulge me here.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is a specialised agency of the United Nations that coordinates the principles and techniques of international air navigation, defines an International airport “ANY AIRPORT designated by an ICAO CONTRACTING STATE [such as Ghana] in whose territory it is situated as an airport of entry and departure for INTERNATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC, where the formalities such as customs, immigration, public health, agricultural quarantine and similar procedures are carried out” [Ref 1].

Note that ICAO does not mention runway length or even aircraft type. The key is having facilities to allow entry and departure for international flights! My view is that you can even land a small Cessna Caravan regional passenger flight from, say, Abidjan or Lome. It would be international so long the airport has certain facilities such as customs, immigration, etc. The number of passengers aboard the flight is IMMATERIAL to whether an airport is international or the type of airplane that services the airport.

In any case, the revamped Kumasi airport, at 1,982 metres (m)/6,502 feet (f) runway length, can accommodate a 78-tonne (171 961 lb) Airbus A320 at possibly about 70% to 80% of the maximum take-off run of 2,100 m (6,900 ft) [Ref 2]. Phase 3 of the airport upgrade also envisages extending the runway from 1982 m to 2320 m (7611 ft), thus allowing fully loaded Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s to land, subject to the individual airline’s internal protocols.

My local international airport here in Aberdeen (ABZ), United Kingdom, has a runway length of 1,953m (6,407 ft), and it lands A320s/319s from British Airways, Easy Jet, B737s from Tui, Ryanair, KLM, and others such as Embraer E-192s all the time with no fuss or safety issues.

Let’s elevate the discourse!

Economist and Political Risk Analyst. Co-Founder, iRIS Research Consortium + Ghana Research Network, Theo Acheampong, PhD wrote.