There are 26 airports operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), five of these are designated as international airports, and several states have their own state-own airports. Some of the international airports are the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja; the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; the Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt; among others.
Incidental enough, these appear to be the best airports in Nigeria even though there are over 30 domestic airports/airfields in Nigeria.
1. Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos
The MMIA in Lagos is the largest airport in Nigeria, and in West and Central Africa. Constructed in 1979 and modelled after the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the MMIA has an international terminal and a domestic wing. There are two runways at the airport and one is 3,900 metres and the other is 2,743 metres. The MMIA international terminal is built for a capacity of 1.3 million passengers per year, and the domestic wing is built for a 3,800 passengers daily.
2. Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport
The Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport is the oldest airport in Nigeria and received an international status in the 1950s. There are two passenger terminals at the airport and the whole airport has undergone several structural changes in recent years. With its domestic terminal commissioned in May 2011, the airport currently manages about 380,000 passengers. The airport is designated as a cargo terminal to improve economic activities in the northern part of the country.
3. Port Harcourt International Airport
Commissioned in 1979, the Port Harcourt International Airport has only one terminal but it caters to both international and domestic flights. It is about the third busiest airport in Nigeria and served about 1.2 million passengers in 2010 – that capacity is now increased. There is a 3,000 metres runway at the airport to cater to plane takeoffs and touchdowns.
4. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA)
The airport is named after Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria. The NAIA is located in Abuja the federal capital city of Nigeria. It has an international wing and a domestic terminal, but the two share the same runway which is about 3,609 metres. The Abuja airport is the busiest airport in Nigeria after MMA in Lagos.
5. Other international airports
There is the Margaret Ekpo International Airport (Calabar Airport), Akanu Ibiam International Airport (Enugu Airport), Maiduguri International Airport (Maiduguri Airport), Sadiq Abubakar III International Airport (Sultan Saddik Abubakar Airport), Gombe Lawanti International Airport (Gombe State), and the proposed Asaba International Airport in Asaba, Delta State. These airports do not have the sophistication of the first four listed international airports in the country.
Looking at the state of the facilities available in our airports in Nigeria, one will see that Nigerian airports still have a very long way to go when compared to other airports around the world. The Nigerian government must therefore not relent in her effort at improving physical infrastructures and welfare in the airports.