Recently, flights to and from Africa have been increasing for various reasons such as the growing number of Africans living abroad, and the tempting business and tourism opportunities that the continent has to offer. As a result, some African airports have seen a rising number of flights and, therefore, have become some of the busiest international airports in terms of aircraft movement and passenger traffic. Here’s a look at five busiest airports on the continent.
Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg (South Africa)
Situated 23 kilometers northeast of the Johannesburg city center, Oliver Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) is the busiest and largest airport in South Africa and on the continent. It was renamed on 27 October 2007 under the name of O.R Tambo International Airport after Oliver Tambo, a former president of the African National Congress. In 2016, the airport handled a total of over 20 million passengers and it is expected to reach between 24 and 28 million passengers in the coming years.
ORTIA serves as the main airport for local and international non-stop flights to and from South Africa. This airport is the central hub of national airline carrier South African Airlines, in addition to other local airlines that fly domestically.
Cairo International Airport, Cairo (Egypt)
Cairo International Airport is located near the capital city, Cairo, 22 km northeast of the city center in the district of Heliopolis. It is one of the busiest airports in the Arab world and Africa. The second largest airport in Africa after ORTIA, it serves as the primary hub of various Egyptian airlines including EgyptAir, Nile Air and EgyptAir Express. It is administered by the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation with four terminals and over 14,5 million travellers passing through annually.
Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town (South Africa)
Opened in 1954, Cape Town International Airport is now the second largest airport in South Africa (after ORTIA) and the third busiest on the continent. It is located 20 kilometers east of Cape Town and is considered to be one of the best airports in all of Africa. It has five terminals that are easily accessible on foot. The airport is utilised by more than 8,5 million passengers every year. The airport has direct flights to several destinations inside South Africa including Durban, Johannesburg, and other cities, in addition to international destinations across the globe.
Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca (Morocco)
The Mohammed V International Airport, named after the late Sultan of the Kingdom of Morocco, is an international airport located 30 km south of Casablanca in the commune of Nouaceur. With approximately 8 million passengers using the airport annually, it is the main airport in the country, and the 4th largest and busiest in Africa after Johannesburg, Cairo, and Cape Town.
The construction of the airport began in 1951 serving the U.S. Air Force under the name of Nouasseur Air Base. It was an air base for the bombers of the Strategic Air Command. The Americans returned the base facilities to Moroccan authorities in 1963.
There are more than 30 airlines using airport which is now the hub of the Moroccan airlines Royal Air Maroc, Jetairfly, Air Arabia Maroc and RAM Express. It has two operative terminals serving nearly 100 destinations, while a third one is out of service.
Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos (Nigeria)
Murtala-Muhammed International Airport is located in the town of Ikeja, 22 km northwest of Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. It was first named “Lagos International Airport”, but it later change to honor the former military ruler of Nigeria, Murtala Muhammed. The airport, which has two terminals, one for international flights and the other for local flights, has undergone numerous renovations to serve the 7.6 million passengers that pass through its doors every year.
The airport is used by approximately 40 airlines flying to and from over 60 destinations all over the world. It’s the hub of carriers Arik Air, Nigeria Airlines, and Aero Contractors.