Monday, October 10, 2022

Nigeria To Start Building A New Airport In Lagos State Next Year

The Lagos State Government has announced that the construction of a new airport in the state will begin next year. The airport, given the all-clear from the Federal Government, will handle a minimum of five million travelers annually.

New Lagos Airport gets go-ahead

Construction of a new airport in Lagos State, Nigeria will begin next year, according to the government. The new facility will be built on a 3,500-hectare site situated on the busy Lekki peninsula east of downtown Lagos.

Jubril Gawat, Senior Special Assistant to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, told Daily Post.

"The project is expected to take off in the year 2023, it will be constructed on 3,500 hectares of land, master plan and aeronautical designs are in place; while studies are ongoing about strategies, funding and other issues, after which the project will be taken to the marketplace. The airport, which is expected to cater to a minimum of five million people yearly, will be constructed in partnership with local and foreign investors."

Nigeria's Federal Government has given its approval for the project. While the airport master plan has been finalized, the project could still face other hurdles, such as financing, so there's no guarantee construction will commence in 2023.

Catering to growing demand

There have long been calls to add air capacity to Lagos, which is Nigeria's largest city and a key economic and cultural hub in Africa. In fact, the wider Lagos area is home to over 20 million people, making it the most populous region on the entire continent.

Nigerian lawyer Kwami Adadevoh told Daily Post.

"It is overdue. Long, long overdue. Lagos doesn’t get enough air traffic for a city of its economic importance and that’s because the present airport is too small."

However, given that Lagos' current airport, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS), significantly expanded its capacity this year with a new terminal, some would argue that Lagos State has enough capacity already.

Nigeria has embarked on a significant infrastructure drive in recent years, including the development of five new international terminals and six cargo terminals as part of an agreement with EXIM Bank of China.

What about Murtala Muhammed International Airport?

Murtala Muhammed International Airport served almost 7.5 million travelers in 2019, dropping to 5.6 million in 2021. The old airport, built in the 1940s, is Nigeria's busiest with separate domestic and international terminals located around 1km apart.

The airport inaugurated a brand-new international terminal in April, but it turns out most airlines aren't using it. The new facility, which has a capacity for up to 14 million passengers annually, does not have sufficient apron space to host larger widebody aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777, Boeing 747, and Airbus A380, leading international airlines to remain at the older Terminal 1. 

By Luke Bodell

Simple Flying

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