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The 9 Busiest Airports in Africa

Cape Town International Airport
Written by See Africa Today

South Africa and Tanzania account for four airports on our list of the top 9 busiest airports in Africa.

Africa is an emerging aviation industry, accounting for about 3% of global air traffic. While their skies are not the busiest in the world, recently, most countries have experienced an increase in demand for air travel.

Given that and the impact of the pandemic from 2020 onwards, the figures used are from 2018 to 2019.

  1. Oliver Reginald OR Tambo International Airport

Oliver Reginald OR Tambo International Airport

Oliver Reginald OR Tambo International Airport. Photo/The National

Owned by Airports Company South Africa, OR Tambo International Airport is an international airport in South Africa. Formally it was called Johannesburg International Airport until 2006 when it was renamed after Oliver Reginald Tambo, an anti-apartheid politician2006, Oliver Tambo.

With 188 Scheduled passenger flights daily, O. R. Tambo International airport is the busiest airport in Africa. The airport serves as the primary airport for domestic and international travel to and from South Africa, with an annual operational capacity of 28,000,000 passengers.

A startling fact is that O. R. Tambo International airport is at a very high altitude.

There are six terminals in the airport, loosely broken down two into Terminals. Terminal A and B with some divisions for international and domestic travel. It is one of the few African airports with many inter-continental air links with connections to destinations such as London, Beijing, Sydney, New York, and Dubai.

  1. Cairo Airport, Egypt

Cairo International Airport (CAI) is the principal international airport in Egypt and is considered the biggest airport in Africa, covering 40 square kilometers. During the pandemic year of 2020, it was Africa’s busiest airport, but during normal times, it lags behind OR Tambo International Airport.

Being close to the meeting place of three continents, it is safe to say Cairo has the potential to expand and compete with major Middle East hubs like Abu Dhabi and Doha.

EgyptAir, Nile Air, and Air Arabia operate the most flights with connections to a host of European and Arab cities.

The airport handles about 111 passenger flights daily, with an annual operational capacity of 15 million passengers to 84 destinations.

Operated by Cairo Airport Company, the airport is the second busiest airport in Africa after O.R Tambo International Airport.

  1. Addis Ababa Bole Airport

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Photo/Africa Feeds

Operated by Ethiopian Airports Enterprise, Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport is another busiest airport in Africa. It handles over 12 million passengers annually, making it the third busiest in Africa. Most flights in and out of Addis Ababa are Ethiopian Airlines, which serves destinations in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, among others.

Sitting on a 37-kilometre area, the airport has several terminals and serves as the primary hub for Ethiopian airlines.

  1. Cape Town International Airport

Cape Town International Airport

Cape Town International Airport. Photo/Constructions Review Online

Cape Town Airport offers one of the most spectacular descents in the world. Johannesburg is one of the busiest airports in the world and the forth busiest in Africa. Cape Town is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa. The city attracts visitors from far and has long-haul services to cities such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Singapore.

Cape Town International Airport is the primary international airport serving the city of Cape Town, with 82 scheduled passenger flights. It is the only airport in the Cape Town Metropolitan area that offers scheduled passenger services.

  1. Casablanca Mohammed V Airport, Morocco

Royal Air Maroc

Royal Air Maroc. Photo/PlanSpotters

As Morocco’s main international gateway, Mohammed V International Airport is the busiest airport in the country. Recent renovations to Terminal 1 have increased its capacity to 20 million passengers annually. The airport has 76 scheduled passenger flights, making it the fifth busiest airport in Africa.

It is also the main hub for the Royal Air Maroc airline, which carries the national flag. The airline offers both domestic and international flights to Europe and beyond.

Casablanca Mohammed V Airport has two runways and two terminals. Terminal 1 is for international and domestic flights, whereas Terminal 2 is for international flights only.

  1. Julius Nyerere International Airport

New Covid-19 rules in Tanzania

New Covid-19 rules in Tanzania. [Photo/ The Citizen]

Formerly known as Dar es Salaam (DAR), Julius Nyerere International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Tanzania. The International Airport is located 12 kilometers southwest of the city of Dar es Salaam.

You can fly to 32 destinations with 26 airlines in scheduled passenger traffic. Daily, the airport has 71 scheduled passenger flights.

  1. Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar (ZNZ) is the second largest airport in Tanzania. You can fly to 22 destinations with 20 airlines in scheduled passenger traffic. It is also the 7th busiest in Africa with a scheduled passenger flight of 64 daily.

  1. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) is the second largest airport in Nigeria. You can fly to 32 destinations with 20 airlines in scheduled passenger traffic. The airport has over 59 scheduled passenger flights daily, which makes it the 8th busiest airport in Africa.

  1. Tunis Carthage Airport

Tunis Carthage Airport

Tunis Carthage Airport. Photo/Wikimedia Commons

Tunis Carthage Airport serves the capital and is the busiest airport in Tunisia. Handling over 4 million passengers, Tunis Carthage Airport serves airlines across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Operated by The Office of Civil Aviation & Airports (OACA), the airport is the main hub for Tunisair, Nouvelair, and Sevenair.

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