Aircraft capabilities, sizes, air traffic control, the need for efficient and safe operations, the minimization of noise pollution, especially around the airport and surrounding area, and the presence of obstructions in the airspace are some of the qualities required of a world-class airport, as Arch20, a global name in architecture and urban design, pointed out.
A modern airport should carry a presence of peace, tranquility, comfort, and style, attributes that have the potential to attract a large number of visitors.
The Skytrax World Airport Awards have been announced, revealing the best airports worldwide for 2023.
In the Africa category, four airports in South Africa made the list, with the others coming from Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, and Mauritius.
These are the top 10 airports in Africa
Cape Town Airport, South Africa
Cape Town Airport, South Africa, was ranked as the best airport in Africa by the Skytrax World Airport 2023 Awards.
According to Airport Company South Africa, “the Cape Town International Airport is Africa’s 3rd largest airport.
“It is also Africa’s premier tourist and VIP destination and has established a reputation as Africa’s premier international award-winning airport, consistently performing among the best in the world for service in its category.”
It’s the primary gateway for travellers visiting the Western Cape region.
The airport has a modern and well-equipped terminal with various facilities for passengers, including shops, restaurants, lounges, and banking services. It’s designed to accommodate both domestic and international flights.
The airport is located about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the city centre. The airport provides good connectivity to Cape Town through various transportation options, including taxis, buses, shuttles, and car rental services.
It’s one of the busiest airports in Africa, handling a significant volume of domestic and international flights. The airport has seen continuous growth in passenger numbers over the years.
Durban King Shaka Airport, South Africa
Durban King Shaka Airport, ranked number two, is the second South African airport on this prestigious list.
Alternatively known as King Shaka International Airport, the airport serves as a primary air travel hub for the city of Durban and the wider KwaZulu-Natal region in South Africa.
The airport boasts modern facilities and a well-designed terminal to accommodate both domestic and international flights. Its design reflects the cultural and natural heritage of the region.
It is located approximately 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of Durban’s city centre, offering convenient access to the city and surrounding areas. Various transportation options, including buses, shuttles, taxis, and car rentals, connect travellers to and from the airport.
The O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa, has two major airports. The O.R. Tambo International Airport and Lanseria International Airport.
O.R. Tambo International Airport, located in the eastern suburbs of Johannesburg, is the primary and busiest airport in the country and, in fact, the entire African continent.
The airport is believed to handle a significant volume of both domestic and international flights. It serves as a crucial hub connecting Johannesburg to various destinations worldwide.
The airport is well-connected to Johannesburg’s city centre and surrounding areas via various transportation options, including taxis, shuttles, buses, and a Gautrain rapid rail link.
The airport offers a range of facilities for travellers, including shops, restaurants, lounges, banking services, car rental agencies, and business facilities.
Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
Casablanca is the major economic hub of trade and commerce in Morocco, and its international airport, known as the Mohammed V International Airport, is the country’s busiest airport and one of the largest in North Africa.
The airport is located about 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Casablanca. It serves as a vital transportation hub connecting Morocco to various domestic, regional, and international destinations.
Mohammed V Airport features modern facilities and amenities, including shops, restaurants, duty-free outlets, lounges, banking services, car rental agencies, and VIP services, ensuring a comfortable experience for travellers.
It handles a significant volume of domestic and international flights, catering to millions of passengers annually. As one of the primary gateways to Morocco, the airport experiences substantial traffic throughout the year.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Mauritius
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, named after the first Prime Minister of Mauritius, is the primary international airport in Mauritius. It is ranked the fifth-best on the continent of Africa.
The airport is located in Plaine Magnien, about 48 kilometres southeast of the capital city, Port Louis, making it the main gateway for travellers visiting the island nation.
Just like its counterpart in South Africa or Morocco, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport offers modern facilities and services, including duty-free shops, restaurants, lounges, car rental services, currency exchange, and VIP services, ensuring a comfortable experience for passengers.
The airport manages lots of flights, both within Mauritius and to other countries. It’s super important for connecting Mauritius to places all around the world, especially for tourists and people doing business.
The airport offers different ways to travel around the island, like taxis, buses, shuttles, and rental cars, helping travellers get to different places easily.
Marrakesh Menara Airport, Marrakesh, Morocco
Marrakesh Menara Airport is the only international airport in the vibrant city of Marrakesh, Morocco.
Ranked the sixth best in Africa, the airport is located about 6 kilometres southwest of the city centre, making it easily accessible for travellers visiting Marrakesh.
The Marrakesh Menara Airport provides various facilities and services for passengers, including shops, restaurants, currency exchange, car rental services, VIP lounges, and Wi-Fi access, ensuring a comfortable experience for travellers.
The airport handles both international and domestic flights, serving as a significant entry point for tourists visiting Marrakesh and the surrounding region.
Just like all international airports, Marrakesh Menara Airport provides transportation options like taxis, buses, shuttles, and car rentals, connecting travellers to different parts of Marrakesh and beyond.
The airport plays a crucial role in welcoming tourists to the city, which boasts many popular tourist destinations.
Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa is not only the major airport in Ethiopia but also serves as a major airport in East Africa.
Ranked as the seventh best in Africa, the airport connects Addis Ababa to various international destinations and serves as a key transit point for travellers.
Addis Ababa, which is the capital city of Ethiopia, serves as a significant economic, political, and cultural centre in the region.
The airport’s location helps attract a huge volume of trading and commercial activities to the country.
In a country that boasts the best airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines, the city is not only rich in history but is also known for its diverse culture, museums, and historical sites.
It’s home to the headquarters of the African Union and several international organisations.
Addis Ababa plays a crucial role in Ethiopia’s economy, hosting various industries, including manufacturing, finance, and commerce. It serves as a centre for trade and investment within the country and the region.
Kigali International Airport, Rwanda
Kigali International Airport, Rwanda’s eighth-best airport on the continent, is the primary airport serving Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
The airport is located in the eastern part of Kigali. It is a vital transportation hub in the country, serving domestic and international flights.
It offers modern facilities for travellers, including shops, restaurants, lounges, currency exchange, car rental services, and VIP amenities, ensuring a comfortable experience for passengers.
The airport has planes going inside the country and to other countries too. This helps Rwanda connect to lots of places in Africa and other faraway spots.
Transportation options such as taxis, shuttles, and car rentals are available at the airport, providing convenient connections to different parts of Kigali and other areas in Rwanda.
Kigali Airport serves as a gateway for tourists visiting Rwanda, known for its natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural heritage. Additionally, the airport facilitates business travel, supporting Rwanda’s economic activities.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Kenya
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is the main international airport in Nairobi, Kenya, and serves as a key gateway to East Africa.
JKIA is located about 15 kilometres (9 miles) southeast of Nairobi’s city centre, making it easily accessible for travellers.
The airport boasts various amenities and services, including duty-free shops, restaurants, lounges, banking services, car rental agencies, and VIP services, ensuring a comfortable experience for passengers.
For traffic, the JKIA is an important economic hub for both domestic and international flights, connecting Nairobi to numerous destinations across Africa, Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world.
The airport offers multiple transportation options, such as taxis, buses, shuttles, and car rentals, linking travellers to different parts of Nairobi and beyond.
The airport also serves as a major economic centre in East Africa and plays a crucial role in providing business travel and trade activity support within the region.
Bram Fischer International Airport, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Bram Fischer International Airport, Bloemfontein, South Africa, is ranked the 10th best airport in Africa for 2023.
The airport serves as the main airport for the city and the broader Free State province. It is located approximately 15 kilometres (9 miles) northeast of Bloemfontein’s city centre, making it easily accessible for travellers.
Bram Fischer Airport, just like the airports in Cape Town and Johannesburg, offers essential amenities for passengers, including shops, restaurants, car rental services, and parking facilities, ensuring convenience for travellers.
The airport mostly has planes that fly within the country, but it also has some planes that go to nearby places in South Africa like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.
Various transportation options, including taxis, shuttles, and car rentals, are available at the airport, providing connectivity to different parts of Bloemfontein and surrounding areas.
Unfortunately, none of the international airports in Nigeria made it to the list.