- The annual Africa airport traffic report 2021 released by Airports Council International (ACI) Africa showed that 2.15 million metric tons of cargo transited through African airports
- During the period under review, cargo traffic growth increased by 11.6 per cent compared to 2020
- ACI Africa noted that JKIA handled 363,204 tons of cargo in 2021, leading other airlines in the continent in total cargo traffic
A new report has revealed the busiest airports in Africa in handling cargo traffic. The annual Africa airport traffic report 2021 released by Airports Council International (ACI) Africa on Monday, August 8, 2022, showed that 2.15 million metric tons of cargo transited through African airports. This represented around 1.7 per cent of the global cargo volume.
During the period under review, cargo traffic growth increased by 11.6 per cent compared to 2020. This came after airlines resumed operations following the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that had led to the grounding of planes.
Which airports handled the most cargo in 2021?
1. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is the flagship airport of the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA). It is the largest aviation facility in Kenya and the busiest airport in East Africa.
JKIA, located on the outskirts of Nairobi, is the gateway into and out of East Africa. According to KAA, JKIA boasts of over 40 passenger airlines and 25 cargo airlines. ACI Africa noted that JKIA handled 363,204 tonnes of cargo in 2021, leading other airlines in the continent in total cargo traffic.
2. Cairo International Airport
Cairo International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Egypt. The airport serves as the primary hub for EgyptAir, Nile Air, and over 40 airlines. The airport has a cargo capacity of 400,000 tonnes annually. In 2021, it handled 333,536 tonnes of cargo.
3. Oliver Reginald Tambo International Airport (OR Tambo)
OR Tambo (formerly Johannesburg International Airport) is the biggest airport in South Africa and the hub for South African Airways.
In 2021, the airport was ranked third in cargo volumes after 304,018 tonnes transited through it. OR Tambo is named after anti-apartheid politician Oliver Reginald Tambo. The airport has a passenger capacity of 28,000 million annually.
4. Addis Ababa Bole International Airport
Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is the main hub for Ethiopian Airlines. The international airport was ranked the fourth busiest after handling 226,417 tonnes of cargo last year.
In 2020, the Ethiopian Airlines Group unveiled a new passenger terminal at the airport. The airline, which boasts over 120 fleets, transports passengers and cargo across five continents.
5. Murtala Muhammed Airport Two
The Nigerian international airport is located in Ikeja, Lagos. It was inaugurated on March 22, 2022, by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari.
Air Peace Hopper is the largest airline operating in the airport without a national carrier. Nigerian Airways collapsed in 2003. Air Peace Hopper is a subsidiary of the privately held Air Peace. The airport handled 204,649 tonnes in 2021.
6. Entebbe International Airport
Entebbe International Airport is the largest and the only international airport in Uganda, a landlocked country in East Africa. The airport was opened in 1951 by British colonial authorities.
The airport is being modernised at the cost of US$586 million. It’s funded by the South Korean government in three phases. During the period under review, 65,115 tonnes of cargo transited through Entebbe International Airport.
7. Aeroport Mohammed V
Aeroport Mohammed V is the busiest airport in Morocco, based in Casablanca. It is the main hub for the national carrier Royal Air Maroc and Air Arabia Maroc. The airport registered 64,373 tonnes of cargo in 2021.
8. Kotoka International Airport
The Ghanaian international airport is operated by Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL. On a scheduled basis, the sole international airport in Ghana is served by several cargo airlines, including Air Ghana, Cargolux, DHL Aviation, Emirates SkyCargo, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo, Qatar Airways Cargo and Turkish Cargo.
It has a 10,000 metres square cargo warehouse facility launched in 2016. Its annual cargo traffic in 2021 was 46,699 tonnes.
9. Blaise Diagne International Airport
Blaise International Airport serves as the main airport for Dakar, Senegal. It replaced Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport, which was deemed too small.
It is named after Blaise Diagne, the first black African elected to France’s parliament in 1914. Major cargo airlines operating from the airport are DHL Aviation and Magma Aviation. The airport recorded 37,225 tonnes in annual cargo traffic last year.
10. Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport is the second busiest airport in South Africa. It’s a hub for Mango, FlySafair and a focus city for South African Airways. The airport handled 32,738 tonnes of cargo in 2021.