The Top 10 Largest Airport Projects in Africa

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The number of airports across the African continent is increasing, and with it comes some of the largest airport projects in Africa. The continent is making more and better advances each year to ensure that its airports are top-notch and able to accommodate international travel. Air transport has dramatically increased in the continent over the past 10 years. This has led to improvements as well as upgrades in several existing airports. It has also meant that new airports need to be constructed to achieve some of these milestones. Countries such as Ethiopia aim to build the largest airport in the continent, with plans to fulfill this already underway since 2020. This list takes insight into some of the largest airports in Africa. This list ranks these airports in terms of the size they occupy and the number of daily arrivals and departures they make.

1. The OR Tambo International Airport- South Africa

South Africa’s OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) is ranked as the largest airport project in Africa in Johannesburg. It is considered the biggest and busiest airport in Africa and is the air transport hub for the Southern Africa region. Able to handle a capacity of 28 million passengers a year, the airport has increased its numbers since its renovation. Over the past years, the airport was able to accommodate only 17 million passengers each year. ORTIA has a staff capacity of almost 18,000 employees all dispatched to work on various aspects. The airport also prides itself on its modern infrastructure, which spans thousands of square feet from its modest origins. The airport is still under several renovations that will see it take a boost in the number of passengers. The airport hosts airlines from all over the globe. It is managed by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA).Facilities at O.R Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg Airport) - OR Tambo International Airport | Johannesburg Airport

2. Cairo International Airport- Egypt.

Located in Egypt’s capital of Cairo and ranking second in our list of largest airport projects in Africa is Cairo International Airport. It is one of the busiest airports in the continent with over 65 airlines passing through annually. Located approximately 15 kilometers from the Central Business District of the city, it is at the northeast end of Cairo. The airport in recent years unveiled a new cargo terminal that has seen a significant rise in cargo in the airport. The airport also has four terminals, terminals 1,2, and 3, and a seasonal terminal. The airport is managed by Egyptian Holding Co. for Airports and Air Navigation (EHCAAN). The managing company also controls four other companies on the premises.

Largest Airports in Africa

3. Cape Town International Airport- South Africa

South Africa’s Cape Town International Airport ranks third in our top 10 largest airport projects in Africa. It is located approximately 20 kilometers from Cape Town’s city center. Establishing a reputation as Africa’s premier award-winning international and VIP destination airport, the airport is exquisite. Year in, and year out, the airport consistently performs, going toe-to-toe with some of the best airline companies in the world. Every year, the airport records new numbers of arrivals passing in and out of Cape Town International Airport. In recent years, it has seen a traffic increase of up to 30% in the number of passengers it handles. The South African government is committed to ensuring that the airport stays on track through the allocation of resources. The airport is also investing In the extension of its terminals and buildings. This also includes social amenities like restaurants, cafes, and car parks, among others.

4. King Shaka International Airport- South Africa.

Also known as La Mercy International Airport, the King Shaka International Airport ranks fourth among our largest airport projects in Africa. Opened in May 2010, the airport is located in Durban, approximately 35 kilometers north of the city. The world-class facility is dedicated to offering various amenities and customer service that aims to make one’s journey as pleasurable as possible. The King Shaka is three times bigger than the Durban International Airport and has five times more shops. The airport’s handling capacity has steadily increased, at one point handling 5.99 million passengers every year. This is made possible by the 102,000m2 that is availed to the airport’s terminal. The airport handles mostly domestic travelers, with a capacity of accommodating 7.5 million passengers per year. It also has room for expansion if need be.About the Airport

5. Hurghada International Airport- Egypt

Located in the hinterlands, approximately 5 kilometers southwest of the district of Hurghada in El Dahar district, ranks as the fifth largest airport project in Africa. The Hurgada International Airport serves Hurgada, the center of the Red Sea governorate of Egypt. It also serves the seaport city of Safaga, and other Red Sea aquatic resorts and sports centers. The airport currently has two operational terminals, a significant upgrade from one. The construction project of the airport cost $353 million and has the capacity of servicing 13 million passengers each year. The airport also provides its passengers with a wide array of boutiques, restaurants, and duty-free stores. Covering an area of 92,000m2, the airport has 72 check-in counters and 20 departure gates.Largest Airports in Africa

6. Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport- Egypt

This is the second major international airport in Egypt after the Cairo International Airport. The Sharm El-Sheikh ranks sixth among the largest airport projects in Africa. It is located 18 kilometers, northeast of the city of Sharm El-Sheikh. Incurring approximately 10 million passengers each year, the airport has invested in its two-level terminals. These terminals are 43,000m2 in capacity and feature 40 check-in points and are built for the catering of international and chartered flights. The Egyptian  Airports Holding Co. seeks is planning to construct a third terminal. This will boost its capacity from 7.5 million to 15 million passengers each year. Sharm El-Sheikh Airport Operates with Solar Energy to Boost Green Energy Usage | Sada Elbalad

7. Mohammed V International Airport- Morocco

Morocco’s Mohammed V International Airport is ranked seventh in our largest airport projects in Africa. Operated by National Airports Office, it is the busiest airport in Morocco with 10 million passengers passing through it yearly. It was the fourth largest in 2014 but has been surpassed by other airports over the years. Its cargo hold is expected to drastically increase over the years, with Casablanca as the main industrial and trading city in the south Mediterranean.

8. Murtala Muhammed International Airport- Nigeria

Operating in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, and considered West Africa’s busiest airport, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport ranks eighth. Officially opened in March 1979, it handles both international and domestic passengers. The total aircraft movement in the airport accumulates to about 100,000 movements per year. It also handles 6 million passengers annually across the West African region. The airport continues to undergo major renovations that will see a tremendous increase in the number of passengers passing through its corridors each year. Major airlines like Emirates and Ocean Air have landing rights to their premises.Largest Airport Projects in Africa

9. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport- Kenya

Considered the busiest airport in Eastern and Central Africa, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport deserves a spot among the largest airport projects in Africa. It is located 18 kilometers east of the country’s capital city Nairobi. It is served by 49 airlines and has direct flight routes to Europe, the Middle East, and other African countries. The airport opens its doors to 6 million passengers each year. The construction of an expressway has seen an increase in traffic within the airport. It has also allowed for faster and easier transportation of cargo to the airport. It has also seen a recent expansion that doubled its passenger capacity.Largest Airport Projects in Africa

10. Port Elizabeth International Airport- South Africa

Capping off the list of the largest airport projects in Africa is the Port Elizabeth International Airport in tenth place. It is handled by the and owned by the Africa Company South Africa (ACSA). It is located within a five-minute drive from Johannesburg’s central business district and the beachfront. Handling over 800 million tonnes of cargo and over one million passengers annually, the airport is within driving distance of major and important facilities within the city. Largest Airport Projects

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