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Last Updated on July 17, 2020

How many international airports are in Nigeria?

What do you know about airports and their place in the transport sector of a country? If you have been arranging for a get-away abroad, then your best travel option should be by air. Travelling by air is one of the quickest and comfortable methods of transportation. Travelling by air is now very common. People now travel by air from one state to another within the country. It is surprising today that a whole lot of people are ignorant about what an international airport looks like or is. Don’t you think, it is high time for you to knew and became familiar with how many international airports are in Nigeria?

Or how about you know the international airports close to you that are still functioning?

Keep reading.

Nigeria has 31 airports in total. However, just a few of these international airports are functional.

An international airport is an aerodrome with facilities to manage and keep airplanes.

So, it has a control tower where planes can land or take off.

An international airport has customs and border managing facilities.

They allow travellers to travel between countries.

International airports in Nigeria are more significant than domestic airports.

This is due largely because of the presence of top-notch facilities.

They can accommodate the massive airplanes used for international travel.

Also, international airports in Nigeria host domestic flights too.

Where are the international airports located in Nigeria?

Most cities with an international airport in Nigeria are modern ones.

Also, most of them sit at the centre of the cities that they are located.

If you count how many international airports in Nigeria are located far away from the centre of cities, there are quite a few.

They are usually in the heart of the city.

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There are many runways and airfields in the country.

These ranges belong to the army forces and to those that are owned by several oil companies.

Here, you can get to know a lot more about international airports in Nigeria.

Below is a list of all international airports in Nigeria.

The list includes their names, location, and features.

List of all international airports in Nigeria

1. Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA)

First, on the list of international airports in Nigeria is Mur Muhammed International Airport located in Ikeja.

It is the primary airport serving Lagos and its neighbouring cities.

MMIA is the busiest international airport in Nigeria.

The reason is not farfetched given the fact that MMIA possesses exquisite facilities that are second to none.

This is why it is the best airport in Nigeria.

The airport has two terminals.

They are the International and Cargo terminals.

Since 1970, the terminals have been subjected to developmental changes.

The most noticeable renovation was in 2013.

This international airport hosts about 5 million passengers each year.

It was formerly known as the Lagos International Airport.

Its current name was in honour of General Murtala Muhammed.

At some point, the airport was considered hazardous to its passengers.

The US warned travellers that the airport’s safety is no longer up to ICAO standards.

In 1993, the FAAN discontinued flights between Lagos and the US.

During this period, protection at the airport became a problem.

Criminals were harassing passengers almost on a daily basis.

They stopped planes coming to and from the terminal to rob their cargo holds.

The Airport personnel also contributed to its awful reputation.

The Immigration officers asked for bribes before stamping passports.

Customs officers requested money for pointless services.

After the election of Olusegun Obasanjo, the airport situation became better.

They created a “shoot on sight” policy.

The policy was for those lurking in areas close to airport runways.

These changes put an end to the robberies.

The FAAN revoked the suspension of direct flights to Nigeria in 2001.

This action was in recognition of safety improvements.

By 2010, the FAAN gave the airport a high-security rating.

Incident of Airport

Like any accessible international airport, it had few incidents in its time. Some of them include:

  • On the 20th of November 1969, a Nigerian airplane crashed, all the 87 passengers and crew members died in the crash.
  • A Nigerian Air force airplane crashed three minutes after take-off in MMIA. Three of its engines failed and all the passengers on board died. This occurred on the 26th of September 1992.
  • An ADC Airlines Flight crashed while drawing near the airport. This happened on the 7th of November 1996. It tried to keep away from an impending collision, but it failed. It crashed close to Ejirin, killing all the 153 passengers on board
  • A Belleview Airlines Flight en route to Abuja crashed after take-off. On the 22nd of October 2005. All 117 passengers on board lost their lives.
  • On the 3rd of June 2012, Dana Air Flight 992 crashed near the airport. The plane crashed into a nearby location, referred to as Agege. It killed all 153 passengers and crew members on board and 10 others on the ground.
  • An Associated Aviation Flight crashed after take-off. On the 13thof October 2013. 15 people died, and 5 others survived the crash.
  • A Delta Air Lines plane on its way to Georgia caught fire. It managed to land without a crash.However, about five tourists had minor injuries. This accident took place on the 13th of February 2018.
  • On the 15th of May 2019, an Air Peace plane from Port Harcourt to Lagos crashed. It suffered a harsh landing on the runway. The arrival resulted in damages to the engine pod and the touchdown gear. No casualties are on record.

2. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport

This is another prominent International airport in Nigeria.

It is located in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria (FCT) and started operation in 2002.

This airport was named after the very first president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe.

The airport has two terminals. One is strictly for international flights and the other for local flights.

Plans being put together by FAAN to create a second runway at this airport.

Today, the NAIA accommodates about 3 million passengers every year.

The FAAN says the new terminal can accommodate up to 15 million passengers a year.

The airport has one runway with two terminals.

In 2008, it hosted about three million passengers.

The Passengers at the airport increased with about a million in 2009.

The Federal Government authorized the renovation of the airport.

The reason is for the airport to cope with the increase in the number of passengers.

The 2nd section is currently under construction.

A new runway is now being set up at the airport.

Reconstructing the runway will make the airport an aircraft hub for Western Africa.

Moreover, it has a runway that is 3,600 m long.

3. Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA)

Mallam Aminu Kano Airport is located in Kano state, the Northern part of Nigeria.

Its name is from a Kano born Nigerian statesman, Mallam Aminu Kano.

He was a nationalist and politician.

MAKIA is one of the oldest international airports in Nigeria.

It is the preferable airport for Hajj travels to Mecca.

The first plane to land in Nigeria landed in the Kano kingdom in 1922 while operations at the airport commenced in 1936.

It later became a fuel stop for airplanes flying between Africa and Europe.

The modern airplanes do not need fuel stops anymore.

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After the fall of the Kano economy in the late 20th century, many planes stopped the utilization of the airport.

In June 2012, flights to the airport were stopped.

Only the KLM airline makes use of the airport.

It has been working with MAKIA since 1947.

The MAKIA International Airport has been renovated in 2015.

And commissione by the former Emir of Kano State, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

It has also had a fair share of accidents along the way, some of which include:

  • On the 24th of June 1956, an Argonaut airliner aircraft crashed.It departed from Mallam Aminu Kano International airport. Of the 45 passengers on board, a total of 13 survived.
  • An Alia Boeing airplane crashed at the airport. It tried to land in sturdy winds.All 176 passengers on board died. This is the first and most devastating aviation accident in Nigeria’s history. It happened on the 22nd of January 1973.
  • On the 4th of May 2002, an airline jet crashed in the Kano International Airport. It killed 71 passengers and crew members on board. 78 other people died on the ground.

4. Port Harcourt International Airport

Port Harcourt International Airport is a Nigerian international airport located in Omagwa.

The airport has two terminals for its international and local flights.

The president of Nigeria at that time commissioned the new terminal.

It was commissioned on the 25th of October, 2018.

In 2009, the airport served about a million passengers, making it the 3rd busiest airports in the country.

On the 18th of August 2016, the airport closed down for repairs.

The servicing was in planning for many months prior to an electrical fire incident which occurred on the 17th of August 2006.

This incident hastened the decision to do a thorough renovation of the airport.

In December of 2007, a part of the airport re-opened.

Airport operations diminished to day time indefinitely till early 2008.

After some time, the entire airport grew to be utterly operational.

The Port Harcourt International Airport makes a lot of contributions to the country.

This is due to its location. Port Harcourt is the backbone of Nigeria’s oil and fuel enterprise.

The airport offers direct flight connections to many places in the world.

Renovations are going on in the international terminal of the airport.

This renovation does restrict the airport’s potential to attend to its passengers.

Like any popular airport

Few incidents have been recorded to have taken place.

  • An aircraft arriving from Luxembourg obtained caught in trees. It crashed at the airport’s runway and got burnt. Its crew persons survived the crash. This occurred on the 17th of December 1996.
  • An MK Airlines airplane crashed due to horrific weather. It was on its way to the Port Harcourt International Airport. An accident record was once done.It confirmed that the pilot made use of an unlawful approach on autopilot under 2000 feet. The crash took place on the 27th of November 2001.
  • A Sosoliso airline aircraft crashed at Port Harcourt Airport. It was coming from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. All the passengers and crew on board died except for two survivors. It passed off on the 10th of December 2005.
  • An Air Peace plane had an accident. It was on its way to Abuja from Port Harcourt.It has 87 passengers and six crew. The plane crashed in heavy rain and landed in the mud. This incident occurred on the 22nd of June 2019.

5. Akanu Abiam International Airport

Akanu Abiam International Airport is considered as Enugu Airport.

It is an international airport in Nigeria serving Enugu.

The airport’s name is from the late Akanu Abiam.

A medical health practitioner and a popular statesman.

He is from Afikpo in Ebonyi, Nigeria.

It is the least busy international airport in Nigeria.

The airport was closed on the 10th of February 2010 by FAAN.

This was in an attempt to renovate the airport.

The airport re-opened on the 16th of December 2010.

However, the beautiful phases of the work (renovation) are ongoing.

The airport is one of the active global airports in Nigeria.

It is, in addition, having a fantastic 3,000-metre runway.

A lot of notable airways land at Akanu Abiam International Airport.

Also, it is about 20 minutes away from the metropolis core of Enugu.

Furthermore, IIA is positioned in Enugu State to serve this section of the country.

The country generates revenue from it.

Enugu was the headquarters of Eastern Nigeria from the 50s to the 60s.

It alternatively remained the capital of East Central States.

Even after the addition of extra states in the 1980s, Enugu played an integral role in the South-Eastern phase of Nigeria.

This is why it is on the list of all international airports in Nigeria.

6. Magaret Ekpo International Airport

The Margaret Ekpo international airport is also known as Calabar Airport.

It is located in Calabar, Cross river state.

The airport was named after Margaret Ekpo as she is a very important human rights activist.

She assists women to fight for their rights.

She also influenced them (women) to take part in politics.

Magaret is very selfless in her efforts to help Nigerian women.

The airport was formally commissioned on the 23rd of July, 1983.

It was commissioned via a former President of Nigeria.

He is Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

This international airport is one of the busy worldwide airports in Nigeria.

It hosts about 200,000 passengers each and every year.

7. Bayelsa International Airport

Bayelsa International Airport is the essential airport serving the Bayelsa State of Nigeria.

Seriake Dickson builds the airport.

The governor of Bayelsa State.

He, in addition, expressed that the airport can handle many passengers at once.

Bayelsa International Airport has 2,250 hectares of land.

The international airport needed about N60 billion to complete it.

It was the government’s way of generating revenue.

This is due to the fact that it functions both for home and international flights.

This international airport was at first for local flights.

8. Sadiq Abubakar III International airport

This airport is also called the Sultan Sadiq Abubakar International Airport.

It was as soon as a commission on the 17th of February, 1982.

The airport is serving Sokoto State and its neighbouring cities.

It is one of the international airports in Nigeria used during the Hajj and Umrah periods.

This reason is why it is on the list of all international airports in Nigeria.

9. Ilorin International Airport

Ilorin International Airport is an airport in Nigeria serving Ilorin.

It commenced in 2007.

It is one of the most magnificent international airports in the country.

The airport can now accommodate over five hundred passengers at once.

It, in addition, hosts local flights to notable airports in the country.

10. Kaduna International airport

This is an international airport serving Kaduna state.

The airport is about 22 kilometres northwest of the city.

The airport commenced in 1982.
It had one recorded accident on the 20th of August 2010.

A Chanchangi Airlines Flight struck an antenna and crashed on the runway.

Several passengers obtained injured.

The plane also had several of its parts damaged as a result.

Chanchangi Airlines suspended operations after the accident.

The Kaduna airport measures up to global aviation standards.

Hence, this is why it gains its way into the list of all international airports in Nigeria.

11. Kebbi International Airport

It is additionally recognise as Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport.

The airport serves Kebbi State.

It is in Ambursa, sixteen kilometres east of Birnin Kebbi.

The runway had a new ramp and terminal built-in in 2013.

The airport started in 2014.

Muslim pilgrims make use of the airport to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.

The airport, in addition, hosts home flights.

12. Maiduguri International Airport

Maiduguri International Airport is an international airport in Nigeria.

It serves Maiduguri.

It commenced in 1950.

The airport serves both home and international operations.

Muslims make use of it all through the Hajj periods.

13. Dutse International airport

It is a modern airport in Nigeria.

Also, serves the metropolis of Dutse in Jigawa State.

The airport is 10 kilometres northwest of the town.

It was opened in 2014.

And is commission by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, an ex-president of Nigeria.

Also, it has a lot of facilities.

The runway is the smoothest airport runway in the country.

Most areas of the airport are air-condition.

It has a seven-story control tower and many essential airport facilities.

It hosts travellers going on pilgrimage.

14. Asaba International Airport

Asaba Airport is a modern airport in Nigeria serving Asaba, Delta State.

It likewise serves Onitsha and some other neighbouring cities.

The airport opened with many expectations in 2013.

Those expectations are lengthy long gone.

This is due to the fact that the runway and its services are deteriorating.

In 2016, work began out on renovating the runway to make it better.

Flights persevered at some point during the renovation.

The runway is 3.4 kilometres long.

It can host a number of 747 airplanes.

The Delta State Government had a lot of aspirations for their airport.

But it has lived a short life.

This is due to the actuality of troubles with money and administration.

Asaba International airport can be one of the satisfactory worldwide airports in Nigeria.

15. Akwa Ibom International Airport

This airport is also called Victor Attah International Airport.

It serves Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State.

The airport is 24 kilometres southeast of Uyo.

And it is 16 kilometres northwest of the river port of Oron.

The first phase of this international airport building commenced in 2006.

It was done in 2009.

The airport opened on the 23rd of September, 2009.

It started operations on the 2nd of December, 2009.

Also, the first began providing flights to Abuja and Lagos.

The 2nd construction phase started in 2012.

This blanketed the completion of an international terminal.

Many different facilities had been brought in during this phase.

The airport was renamed after former Governor Obong Victor Attah to honour him on his 80th birthday.

This was on the 24th of November, 2018.

Unfortunately, this airport has become one of the famous domestic airports in Nigeria.

It presently does not host international flights.

This is due to inadequacies in international airport facilities.

Also, we are hoping that AIIA joins the list of international airports in Nigeria.

The above mention international airports in Nigeria is in the list of international airports in the federation.

It is also important for us to know those international airports in Nigeria that are very much active at the moment.

This is because as earlier stated, not all are active at the moment.

The active international airports at the moment

  1. Murtala Muhammed International Airport
  2. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport
  3. Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport
  4. Port Harcourt International Airport.
  5. Akanu Ibiam International Airport

It is a pity that despite how many international airports are in Nigeria, only a few of them can still boast of being active to the purpose of why they were built.

Some problems ranging from inadequate airport infrastructures and facilities to lack of adequate revenue needed to maintain these airports.

And their facilities properly have rendered most international airports in Nigeria inactive.

Also, poor administrations that can be seen via the lenses of corrupt airport officials.

Hence, with the lack of technical knowhow and negligence by the government, have contributed to this problem.

However, our attention is on those international airports in Nigeria that are active.

So, if you are planning to tour abroad any time soon, these are the airports you should be, depending on your location.

Also, the different airports do host domestic flights.

You can make use of them for local travel.

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