The world is advancing, and Africa is making strides to keep up with the pace with its airports. Ranking the busiest airports in Africa by passenger traffic, the aviation industry is also increasing, with airports looking to go beyond the traditional departure and arrival.

Unsurprisingly, airline passengers want a hassle-free process as they travel. Passenger comfort is, therefore, a top priority for most airports.

These are the ten busiest airports in terms of passenger traffic:

  1. South Africa- OLIVER REGINALD TAMBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  2. Egypt- CAIRO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  3. Ethiopia- BOLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  4. South Africa- CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  5. Morocco- MOHAMMED V INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  6. Nigeria- MURTALA MUHAMMED INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  7. Algeria- HOUARI BOUMEDIENE AIRPORT
  8. Morocco- MARRAKESH MENARA AIRPORT
  9. South Africa- KING SHAKA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  10. Egypt- HURGHADA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

1. South Africa- OLIVER REGINALD TAMBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

The O.R. Tambo international airport was initially known as Jan Smuts International Airport. In 1994, it was then called the Johannesburg International Airport until October 27 2006, when it was renamed after Oliver Reginald Tambo.

It is the biggest airport in South Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Renowned airlines such as Ethiopia Airlines, Air China, Delta Airlines and Turkish Airlines are fully operational in this airport.

The Busiest Airport in Africa- O.R. Tambo international airport
The Busiest Airport in Africa- O.R. Tambo international airport

Standing out as the busiest airport in Africa, this airport serves an average of 281 passenger flights daily.

At the end of 2019, it had served a total of 21,665,403 passengers recording a 2 per cent increase from the previous year. These figures are very much expected as the airport has six terminals and two runways adjacent to the terminal building, all for smooth operations.

2. Egypt- CAIRO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Serving 84 destinations worldwide, the Cairo International Airport comes in second place.

Second busiest airport in Africa- Cairo International Airport
Second busiest airport in Africa- Cairo International Airport

In the 1940s, during the second world war, the United States Air Force built Payne Airfield to service its Armed forces and collaborators. Now known as the Cairo International Airport, it is located in Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.

Cairo International Airport
Cairo International Airport

It is the primary hub for Egypt Air Express, Egypt Air and Nile Air, serving approximately 175 passengers daily with four terminals. In 2019, its total number of passengers was 15,010,501, suffering a 5.9 per cent decrease compared to 2018.

3. Ethiopia- BOLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Next in the spotlight is the Bole International Airport. Located in the Bole area, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this airport is the central hub of the country’s national airline, Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest flight carrier.

Bole International Airport
Bole International Airport

It was formerly called Haile Selassie I International Airport. It handles an average of 137 passengers daily to 106 destinations. It currently has two terminals and 11 gates.

Its port is actively linked to Nairobi and Dubai. Recording an impressive 20.6 per cent increase in passenger figures from 2018, its total number of passengers at the end of 2019 was 12,143,938.

4. South Africa- CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

This is the second busiest airport in South Africa and the fourth busiest in Africa.

Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport

The airport opened for business in 1954 in Matroosfontein, Cape Town, South Africa. Serving about 117 passengers daily, it has 120 check-in desks for fast handling passenger check-ins and two terminals.

Its port is linked to 38 destinations across Africa and beyond, and in 2019, it had a 0.1 per cent increase compared to the previous year, with precisely 10,823,737 passengers served at the end of the year.

5. Morocco- MOHAMMED V INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Following closely to Cape Town International Airport is the Moroccan beauty located in Nouasseur province, Casablanca, Morocco. The United States of America built it in 1943 during World War II.

Mohammed V International Airport
Mohammed V International Airport

Apart from being the fifth busiest airport In Africa by passenger traffic, it is also currently one of the busiest cargo airports. This is supported by a rail service that links the Casablanca port station to the airport.

At the end of 2019, a total number of 10,306,293 passengers was recorded, marking a 5.9 per cent increase since 2018.

6. Nigeria- MURTALA MUHAMMED INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

In sixth place is Nigeria’s very own Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Currently ranked the busiest airport in West Africa. It is located in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport
Murtala Muhammed International Airport

It was established during the second world war and named after General Murtala Muhammed. It was the headquarter of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Accident Investigation Bureau, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and a hub for the Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Azman Air, Med-view Airline, and Air Peace, Dana Air and Ibom Air.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport
Murtala Muhammed International Airport

In 2019, it served about 7.3 million passengers, making it one of the busiest in Africa.

7. Algeria- HOUARI BOUMEDIENE AIRPORT

It was founded in 1924 as the Maison Blanche Airport but later got a name change to Houari Boumedienne Airport after one of Algeria’s past presidents. Located in Algiers, Algeria, it is also commonly called the Airport of Algiers.

Houari Boumedienne Airport
Houari Boumedienne Airport

Unsurprisingly, it is the seventh busiest in Africa as it has four terminals and was renovated to handle about 22 million passengers. However, at the end of 2019, it served only about 7 million passengers.

8. Morocco- MARRAKESH MENARA AIRPORT

It is located in Marrakesh, Morocco, the focus city of Morocco’s national carriers- Royal Air Maroc and Ryanair. Marrakesh Menara Airport receives flights from Europe, Casablanca and a few Arab nations.

Marrakesh Menara Airport
Marrakesh Menara Airport

It has three terminals but has the second terminal closed. The third terminal was opened and inaugurated on December 21, 2016, by King Mohammed VI.

Marrakesh Menara Airport
Marrakesh Menara Airport

In the eighth position, its total number of passengers for 2019 was about 6.3 million.

9. South Africa- KING SHAKA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

The King Shaka International Airport is designed to handle the Airbus A380. It is located in La Mercy, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and is also known as the La Mercy Airport.

King Shaka International Airport
King Shaka International Airport

To improve customer satisfaction and for fast handling of passenger check-in, the airport has 72 check-in counters and 18 self-service kiosks. At the end of 2019, it has served a total number of 6,262,055 passengers.

10. Egypt- HURGHADA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Another great airport in Egypt, the Hurghada International Airport, is located in Hurghada, Red Sea Coast, Egypt.

Hurghada International Airport
Hurghada International Airport

It is the second busiest airport in Egypt after Cairo International Airport and the tenth busiest in Africa. It is best known for its leisure flights, mostly coming from various European states.

It is the hub for Air Cairo, Air Bucharest, Eurowings and Turkish Airlines. It served a total of about 6,600,000 passengers in 2019.

REFERENCES

  • “List of busiest airports in Africa”- Wikipedia, 2019 Statistics, last edited July 27 2020.
  • “Top 10 Busiest airports in Africa 2020”- Tuko, Calaphas Wanjala, March 2020.
  • “List of 20 Busiest Airports in Africa-2020 updated”- Answers Africa
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