Crucial information when flying into Nigeria’s main airports
|December 18, 2013||Posted by Vishal under Nigeria||
Nigeria has in total twenty two airports and five of these are functional international airports.
Lagos International Airport, otherwise known as the Murtala Muhammed Airport is twelve miles away on the outskirts of the city. The airport is the country’s busiest airport with two terminals- International and Cargo terminals which are open 24 hours a day while the domestic terminal opens 16 hours each day.
The airport is fairly modern in appearance and has had recent improvements. Yet the airport still attracts criticism. Generally the queue for international visitors is much shorter than for locals. You may get asked for a valid yellow fever vaccine card. You will also need to show your Nigeria visa at the border control. You may also be asked for much money you are carrying although it is unclear what the regulations are regarding the carrying of cash..
Public transport is poor with badly serviced vehicles. Taxis are not that much better and the traffic is horrendous. It is best to have in advance someone from you hotel come and collect you from the airport. Once you have arrived in the arrival lounge be very careful who you talk to and if greeted by someone, ask what hotel they are from before agreeing to leave the airport with them.
On departure it is possible to pay a few nairas and get a ‘fast pass’ through the system as it can take some time with various security and border checks.
Abuja Airport is known locally as Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. The airport has recently-upgraded airport facilities. The new Airport Expressway makes it possible to reach Abuja city quicker than in the past.
Abuja Airport is destined to become the country’s main airport, eventually overtaking Lagos airport in importance. The airport has an international terminal and a domestic terminal. The two terminals share a common runway. A second runway has been planned for the near future.
The Abuja Airport is some distance from Abuja and is about 30 miles from the city centre on the way to Gwagwalada. It takes about 25 to30 minutes to drive into the city during normal traffic conditions. The road to the Abuja airport was recently improved. The road was expanded from four lanes to ten lanes. This has lessened traffic jams previously experienced on the road to and from the Abuja airport.
Morning does see a rise in traffic volumes and again after about 3:30 in the afternoon which may add some minutes to the travelling time. There are registered airport cabs that can take you to and from the airport and to neighbouring towns. However, the condition of the some of the vehicles used is questionable. As with Lagos airport it is best to get the hotel to come and collect you on your arrival at the airport.
Due to recent refurbishment Abuja International Airport has comfortable and spacious departure lounges both at the international terminal and at the domestic terminals. There are also a couple of reasonable restaurants within the airport. You will also find kiosks where you purchase books, newspapers and other sundry items. There is a car park for private cars which cannot stop overnight and there is a hefty toll on entering the airport.
The same safety measures should be taken as with Lagos airport. Ensure you have your passport and Nigeria visa and any proof of vaccinations with you. Be careful who you talk to and if met by a hotel driver check his credentials before leaving the airport with them.
Nigerian International Airports are slowly improving but still have problems, expect some delays, always allow plenty of time for security, border and custom checks. Being polite and courteous will get you through airport checks quicker than confrontation. With planning and knowing what to expect, your stay in Nigeria should be a pleasant one.
This post was written by Vishal Mavadia, Business Director Visa Services London.