Airports are the gateways to a country – both literarily and symbolically. There is a general belief that a country’s airport is a reflection of the country itself.
Nowadays, airports have become tourists’ attractions themselves, and give millions of tourists the conviction to choose a particular destination over the other.
In recent times, many African countries have paid more attention to putting their airports in better shape and providing state-of-the-art facilities to ease international travel – and also create a good impression on foreigners. But which countries have the best airports on the continent?
Syntrax International, a renowned organization known for carrying out airport rankings for over two decades recently released the 2021 Global Airport Ranking. The August 5, 2021 report provided an insight on the best airports in Africa, as it compared to the world.
It is noteworthy that the World Airline Awards from Skytrax are highly coveted accolades, which have significantly placed top-ranking Airports in the limelight globally.
The following, however, is the list of Airports that made it to the top ten International Airports in Africa:
1. Cape Town International Airport, South Africa
Cape Town International Airport has again been named the best airport in Africa-- a position held by it since 2016. It was also voted as the cleanest Airport with the best-supporting staff in Africa
Even though it retained its position as the Best Airport in Africa, it has however stepped down to 33 in the global ranking, ten places down from the 2020 Skytrax World Airport Awards.
2. Durban - King Shaka International Airport, South Africa
Stepping into the Second Position in the Syntrax rankings top ten International Airports in Africa is Durban King-Shaka International Airport named after the founder of the Zulu Kingdom, King Skaka. This airport is located in La Mercy, KwaZulu-Natal, approximately 35km north of Durban and it is known as the principal airport serving Durban, South Africa
3. Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa
In Third place is Johannesburg O. R. Tambo International Airport, an international airport situated in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa. It is known to serve as the primary airport for domestic and international travel.
The airport is known as "Africa's busiest". It was said to have handled over 21 million passengers in 2017.
4. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport
In the fourth position, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is the main international airport in Mauritius. It is located 26 nautical miles southeast of the capital city of Port Louis.
The Airport was built in the year 1942. The IATA code for the airport is MRU. It handles about 5 million passengers yearly.
5. Marrakech International Airport, Morocco
Coming fifth place is the Marrakech International Airport, also known as Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK), the city’s main airport. Located 6 km southeast of the city center, it is currently the second most important airport in Morocco, after Casablanca Mohammed V Airport. Over four million passengers arrived or departed from one of the airport's terminals in 2014.
6. Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport, Morocco
The Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport making it to the sixth position is an international airport located in Nouasseur, a suburb 30 km south-east of Casablanca, in Morocco.
It is known as the main hub for the national carrier Royal Air Maroc, Air Arabia Maroc, and RAM Express. In Africa, Casablanca airport is among the five busiest airports on the continent.
Casablanca Airport registered 10,306,293 passengers in 2019.
7. Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa Bole International Airport formerly known as Haile Selassie I International Airport, is an airport that serves more than 12.1 million passengers each year. From June 2018, about 450 flights each day were arriving and leaving the airport. Ethiopian Airlines is the main hub of this airport.
Addis Ababa Bole International Airport was ranked 7th in the Syntrax International Airports Ranking in the African Region.
8. Kigali International Airport, Rwanda
Kigali International Airport, coming 8th place in the Syntrax International Airports Ranking is the main airport serving Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. It is the country's main airport, but it is also of regional importance as it serves Congolese, Burundian, and Ugandan cities.
9. Port Elizabeth International Airport, South Africa
Port Elizabeth International Airport known as the “10-minute airport”, which came about because of the closeness of being able to travel from the airport to the major areas of the city is the ninth position on the list of the top ten International Airports in Africa.
10. Bloemfontein's Bram Fischer International, South Africa
Making it to the last ten on the list is the Bloemfontein International Airport known as the Bram Fischer International Airport, located in Bloemfontein, the capital city of the Free State province of South Africa.
In November 2012, the South African government announced that the airport's name was to be changed to Bram Fischer International Airport; the official renaming was performed by Pres. Jacob Zuma on Thursday, 13 December 2012.