How Many International Airports Do We Have In Nigeria?

Currently, Nigeria has 13 international airports, of which only 5 are fully functional. The country has over 32 airports, out of which 26 are run and operated by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria.

Before the transition to the current democratic governance of Nigeria, the country was in dire need of international airports. The government saw the need to transform the existing airport into an international airport. This gave rise to a boost in the economic and international relations in Nigeria.

Most of the international airports in Nigeria are suffering from a lack of adequate funding, giving rise to substandard structures which will hinder their full functioning. As we progress, we will list the five functional airports and the other international airports that are not functioning in the country.

List of International Airports in Nigeria and Their Locations

International airports are terminals known to have facilities that can cater to the needs of importations and exportations. They also cover the travel capacity of citizens from one country to another. In Nigeria, 13 international airports are designated for such services.

Unfortunately, only 5 out of the 13 international airports meet the standards for international flight transportation. Here are all the international airports in Nigeria and their locations in the country.

1. Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA)

  • Location (State): Lagos State
  • Location (area): Ikeja
  • Named After (Position of the person): Murtala Ramat Mohammed, a Military President of Nigeria from July 30, 1975, to February 13, 1976
  • Active since: 1978

Murtala Muhammed International Airport was named after General Murtala Muhammed, a former Nigerian military head of state who died in 1976. Previously, the airport was named Lagos International Airport. The MMIA international airport terminal was completed and commissioned in 1978, although it was not open to the public until March 15, 1979.

Even though the airport has been renovated several times since the 1970s. More intensive renovations occurred in 2013, following the beginning of the federal government’s multi-billion naira remodeling and rehabilitation programme for some of its airports nationwide. In 2014, the lounge space was quadrupled in size, and new passenger handling conveyor systems capable of handling over 1,000 people per hour were installed.

However, the airport has seen its fair share of flight disasters, including the November 1996 crash of ADC Airlines Flight 86, a Boeing 727-231, near Ejirin, Lagos, which killed more than 150 people. Another catastrophic disaster occurred in 2005, when Bellview Airlines Flight 210 crashed, killing more than 100 people on board.

International Airlines and the Destination from Murtala Muhammed International Airport

Here is the list of international flights that operate at the airport and their destinations:

  • Air Cote d’Ivoire – Abidjan
  • African World Airlines – Accra
  • Air France – Paris-Charles de Gaulle
  • Air Peace – Freetown, Accra, Johannesburg, Montego Bay (by Charter)
  • British Airways – London-Heathrow
  • Asky Airline – Lome
  • EgyptAir – Cairo
  • Delta Air Lines – Atlanta, New York
  • Emirates – Dubai-International
  • Turkish Airlines – Istanbul
  • Virgin Atlantic – London-Heathrow
  • Rwandair – Kigali
  • TAAG Angola Airlines – Luanda
  • Qatar Airways – Doha
  • Royal Air Maroc – Casablanca
  • Kenya Airways – Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta
  • Middle East Airlines – Beirut
  • Ethiopian Airlines – Addis Ababa
  • KLM – Amsterdam

2. Port Harcourt International Airport

  • Location (State): Rivers State
  • Location (area): Omagwa, Port Harcourt
  • Named After (Position of the person): Currently, named after the state’s capital city.
  • Active since: 2006

Port Harcourt International Airport is a popular destination for many tourists, whether they are entering or leaving Nigeria. As a result, it has seen a significant increase in passenger traffic over the years, with the airport serving over a million people today. Furthermore, on October 25, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari opened the airport’s new international terminals, which has increased its activities.

However, this airport is also noted for having witnessed several sad accidents over the years, including the disastrous Sosoliso plane crash in 2005, which claimed the lives of over a hundred people. Another incidence of an Air Peace plane running off the runway occurred sometime in 2019, although there was no loss of life.

International Airlines and the Destination from Port Harcourt International Airport

  • Air France – Paris-Charles De Gaulle
  • Cronos Airlines – Accra, Malabo
  • Africa’s Connection STP – Sao Tome
  • Turkis Airlines – Instanbul
  • Lufthansa – Abuja, Frankfurt

3. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

  • Location (State): Federal Capital Territory, Abuja
  • Location (area): Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja
  • Named After (Position of the person): Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe, former President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966
  • Active since: 2000

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was completed in 2000 but did not operate until sometime in 2002. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was dedicated to the name of Nigeria’s first president. Since its inception, the airport has seen a great increase in activity, with 2018 seeing the highest activity rate of more than 31%. Furthermore, no fatalities have occurred at the airport since it began operations as an international and domestic facility.

International Airlines and the Destination from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport

  • Air Cote d’Ivoire – Abidjan
  • Africa World Airlines – Accra
  • ASKY Airlines – Lome, N’Djamena, Yaounde
  • Air France – N’Djamena, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
  • EgyptAir – Cairo
  • British Airways – London-Heathrow
  • Ethiopian Airlines – Addis Ababa, Yaounde
  • Emirates – Dubai-International
  • Med-View Airlines – Jeddah
  • Lufthansa – Frankfurt
  • RwandAir – Accra, Kigali
  • Qatar Airways – Doha
  • Turkish Airlines – Istanbul

4. Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport

  • Location (State): Kano State
  • Location (area): Lagos Road
  • Named After (Position of the person): Mallam Aminu is a well-respected politician, reformist, and teacher who contributed tremendously to the quest for democracy and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.
  • Active since: 1900s

Aminu Mallam Kano International Airport is Nigeria’s oldest international airport. It was renamed after Aminu Mallam, a Nigerian politician. According to history, the first airplane to arrive in Nigeria was at Kano in 1922, but the airport did not open until 1936. It became an important fuel stop for airlines flying long-haul flights between Europe and Africa during its first decades of existence.

Unfortunately, newer planes did not require such fuel stops, and when the Kano economy deteriorated in the late twentieth century, many international airlines quit operating at the airport. The airport is also known to have had two deadly occurrences. The first occurred on June 24, 1956, when a BOAC 4-engine Canadair C-4 Argonaut crashed while flying from Kano International Airport, killing 32 people.

Another jet catastrophe that killed 176 passengers occurred on January 22, 1973, when an Alia Boeing 707-320C was landing at the airport. On May 4, 2002, EAS Airlines Flight 4226 derailed while flying off from the airport, killing 71 people on board and 78 people on the ground level.

International Airlines and the Destination from Aminu Mallam Kano International Airport

  • Dornier Aviation Nigeria – Occasional charter to Jeddah
  • Badr Airlines – Khartoum
  • Ethiopian Airlines – Addis Ababa
  • EgyptAir – Cairo
  • Flynas – Jeddah
  • Eritrean Airlines – Asmara, Khartoum
  • Max Air – Occasional charter to Jeddah
  • Kabo Air – Occasional charter to Jeddah
  • Sudan Airways – Khartoum
  • Saudia – Jeddah, Medina
  • Tchadia Airlines – D’Jamena
  • Tarco Airlines – Khartoum
  • Med-View Airline – Jeddah

5. Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu

  • Location (State): Enugu State
  • Location (area): Emene, Enugu
  • Named After (Position of the person): Renamed after Sir Francis Akanu Ibiam KCMG KBE, a respected medical missionary who was given the Governorship of the Eastern Region from December 1960 to January 1966.
  • Active since: 2010

The late Akanu Ibiam, a medical doctor and politician from Afikpo, Ebonyi State, inspired the name of this southeast airport. The airport is renowned for serving many southeastern cities in Nigeria, including Awka, Onitsha, Aba, Nsukka, and sections of Kogi, Cross River, and Benue.

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) closed the airport on February 10, 2010, to begin improvements to make it up to the expected standard for an international airport. It was then reopened on December 16, 2010. Since then, the international airport has had many significant improvements, spanning from the structures to the runways.

International Airline and the Destination from Akanu Ibiam International Airport

  • Ethiopian Airline – Addis Ababa

Other International Airports in Nigeria Not yet functional as International Airports

6. Kaduna International Airport

  • Location (State): Kaduna State
  • Location (area): Kaduna Capital City
  • Named After (Position of the person): N/A
  • Active since: 1982

Kaduna Airport serves Kaduna, the capital of Nigeria’s Kaduna State. The airport is located around 22 kilometers northwest of town. The airport first began operations in 1982. In the state’s northern boundaries, Kaduna also possesses an older airport. In March 2017, the International Airport received its first international flight.

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria manages the airport (FAAN). It was refurbished in 2017 and now serves both domestic and international flights. The airport has also seen its fair share of flight disasters. On August 20, 2010, a Boeing 737-200, 5N-BIF, operated by Chanchangi Airlines, collided with the localizer antenna and landed marginally off the runway.

Several individuals were injured slightly, and the plane was seriously damaged. This resulted in a new restriction on Chanchangi Airlines’ operations. The most recent incident at the airport was a bandit attack on March 26, 2022, which resulted in the death of a security guard. This has also contributed to the airport’s current poor performance.

7. Asaba International Airport

  • Location (State): Delta State
  • Location (area): Asaba
  • Named After (Position of the person): N/A
  • Active since: 2014

Asaba International Airport is the city of Asaba’s only international airport. The Delta State government opened the airport in 2014 as part of the strategic goal of creating an economic platform to connect the state to the global marketplace. It is located roughly 7.9 kilometers (4.9 miles) from the state capital.

The airport offers direct flights from Delta State’s capital, Asaba, to other Nigerian states. With an estimated 18,000 passengers each month, the air route between Asaba and neighboring states quickly becomes one of Nigeria’s busiest.

Currently, the airport handles domestic flights linking the city to Nigeria’s major cities. It also serves Onitsha, in Anambra State, across the Niger River. Due to the fact that it still lacks some of the major criteria to serve as an international airport, it is currently used as a domestic airport.

8. Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri

  • Location (State): IMO State
  • Location (area): Owerri
  • Named After (Position of the person): Named after Sam Mbakwe, who is the first Imo state governor under Nigeria’s democratic system of governance.
  • Active since: 1992

Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, commonly known as Imo State Airport, is located in southern Nigeria and serves Owerri, the capital city of Imo State. It is situated in Imo State’s Ngor Okpala Local Government Area. Other cities the airport serves include Onitsha, the car and manufacturing city of Nnewi in Anambra State, and Aba, Umuahia, and Arochukwu in Abia State.

Imo State’s Okigwe, Oguta, and Orlu business areas are among the others. The airport also serves areas of Akwa Ibom and the Cross River States in Nigeria’s south-south region. Sam Mbakwe, a former governor of Imo State, is honored with the airport’s name. It is the first airport established by the state government.

The airport was dedicated by Navy Commodore Anthony E. Oguguo, who served as military governor of Imo State between 1990 and 1992 under General Ibrahim Babangida’s military government. The federal government eventually took over. As part of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project, the airport’s facilities and communication equipment serving the airspace past Port Harcourt Airport were upgraded in 2013.

The airport has a night landing capability, but the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria limits night operations for most flights in non-international certified airports, except for passenger planes during a pilgrimage.

9. Dutse International Airport, Jigawa

  • Location (State): Jigawa State
  • Location (area): Dutse
  • Named After (Position of the person): N/A
  • Active since: 2014

Dutse International Airport is located in Jigawa State, northern Nigeria, serving the city of Dutse. The airport, located 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) northwest of the city, was inaugurated in 2014 by the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

The airport was built to encourage international commercial activities in the area. Unfortunately, its current stand negates the approval of its international flight activities.

10. Maiduguri International Airport, Borno

  • Location (State): Borno State
  • Location (area): Maiduguri
  • Named After (Position of the person): N/A
  • Active since: 1950

Maiduguri International Airport, located at the current Nigerian Air Force Headquarters in Borno State, was created in 1950 with a runway capacity of 1000 x 28M (airstrip). The airport acts as a domestic and international hub during Hajj activities. The airport is located in Maiduguri and is surrounded by the settlements of Bulunkutu, Shiwari, Shelmari, and Muronti.

The airport was built to encourage the importing, exporting, and other international activities of the state and its neighbors. Due to the condition of the structures in the airport and the insecurity currently affecting the activities of the state, the airport’s activities are restricted to a few domestic flights.

11. Kebbi International Airport, Kebbi

  • Location (State): Kebbi State
  • Location (area): Birnin Kebbi
  • Named After (Position of the person): Renamed after Sir Ahmadu Bello, who was the only premier of Northern Nigeria from 1954 to 1966
  • Active since: 2014

Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport (SABIA) is in Abuja, Nigeria. (ICAO: DNBK) is a Nigerian airport servicing Birnin Kebbi and the neighboring States. It is 16 kilometres (9.9 miles) east of Birnin Kebbi on the Birnin Kebbi-Argungu route.

In 2013, the runway was extended from 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) to 3,100 meters (10,200 feet), and a new ramp and terminal were erected. On the field lies the Birnin Kebbi VOR-DME (Ident: BIK).

Since the airport’s full operation in 2014, Muslim pilgrims from Kebbi state have been transported from SABIA to Jedda International Airport in Saudi Arabia. Domestic flights are also available at the airport, both scheduled and unscheduled. Before Azman Air, which is now the principal airline operating from SABIA, scheduled flights to Abuja were via Air Peace.

12. Sadiq Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto

  • Location (State): Sokoto State
  • Location (area): Sokoto Capital
  • Named After (Position of the person): Named after Siddiq Abubakar III, who was the Sultan of Sokoto from 1938 to 1988
  • Active since: 1982

The Saddiq Abubakar III International Airport, also called Sultan Saddik Abubakar Airport, was named after the 17th Sultan of Sokoto, who reigned from 1900 to 1902. It was inaugurated on February 17, 1982, and its international section primarily serves Muslim pilgrim travelers to Hajj.

13. Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar

  • Location (State): Cross River State
  • Location (area): Calabar
  • Named After (Position of the person): Margaret Ekpo was one of the earliest Nigerian female activists who pioneered feminism and anti-colonization in the country.
  • Active since: 1983

Margaret Ekpo International Airport was built to bring international migration to the area. Currently, the airport standard cannot grant approval for international flights to operate.

The international airport was formally opened on July 23, 1983. This was done by the former President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari. To date, the airport serves only local flight passengers within the country.


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