Tamale Airport was founded as a main advanced operational base for troops during World War II.
The landing strip was acquired at Nyohene, some two miles west of Tamale in December, 1940.
By 1948 the following buildings were in place and ready for operational use:
1. Aerodrome Control Tower2. Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) 3. Air Traffic Control Offices 4. Standby generator services 5. Public places of convenience 6. Store and garage 7. Seven Junior Staff Quarters were also constructed close to the airport for ease of access by staff.
The Government of the first republic of Ghana approved a plan to build a new international airport to serve the military eleven miles north of Tamale on realizing its strategic position/importance. Although the project got off to a bright start, it was abandoned with the overthrow of the regime in 1966. However, work on the airport resumed with some modifications to accommodate civil operations. Initially, the airport was manned by the Airforce, however with time assistance was sought from GCAA to provide personnel for telecommunications and to take charge of the RFFS and also Air Traffic Services. Tamale Airport is used for both civil and military operations and for special international flights and is now under the management of the GACL.
In September 2014, work commenced on the upgrade and expansion of Tamale Airport to International status. The development is in two phases. The first phase involved the upgrade and extension of the runway from 2438m to 3940m, construction of a new Apron and taxilink, rehabilitation of existing apron and the installation of aeronautical ground lighting systems. The project was commissioned on the 19th of August 2016 to coincide with the first flight for the 2016 Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca. For the first time in the history of Ghana, a Boeing 747-400 series aircraft touched down at Tamale International Airport. Upgrading the Tamale Airport fits into the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirement for States to have an alternate airport capable of receiving wide –bodied aircraft in the event of an emergency at the country's main airport (in our case KIA).