Aeroplanes! Flights! Airports! Fascinations of so many children. Nigeria has quite a few very popular international airports, most prominently; the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport. But before these two ever boarded an international flight or received a foreign flight on their tarmacs, there had been an already existing International Airport in Nigeria. The Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport.
The Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport: Nigeria’s Oldest Airport
Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport is the oldest in Nigeria and the first aircraft landed in Nigeria was landed in Kano 1922, with operations starting in 1936. In the first decades of operation, it became an important fuel stop for airlines flying long-haul services between Europe and Africa. Newer aircraft did not need such fuel stops and, with the decline of the Kano economy in the late 20th century, many international airlines stopped serving the airport. When they indefinitely suspended services to Kano on June 2012, KLM was the only European airline serving Kano, which they had done without interruption since 1947.
A Brief Background of the Mallam Aminu International Airport
Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport is an airport serving Kano, the capital city of Kano State of Nigeria. It was a Royal Air Force station before the country became independent. It is the main airport serving northern Nigeria and was named after politician Aminu Kano. The airport has an international and domestic terminal. Construction started on a new domestic terminal and was commissioned on 23 May 2011. In 2009, the airport handled 323,482 passengers. The bulk of international flights cater to the large Lebanese community in Kano and Muslim pilgrimages to Mecca.
The airport serves civilian and military flights. Runway 06/24 is mainly used for civilian flights, while runway 05/23 primarily serves the Nigerian Air Force base at the south side of the airport. Runway 05/23 was in use for all operations when the main runway was rehabilitated at the beginning of the 21st century. The terminal facilities lie between the two runways.
The main terminal with the control tower serves international flights and domestic services operated by Arik Air. Facilities in the departure lounge are minimal, with a newsstand near the check-in counter and a small bar at airside. There is a small VIP lounge for business class passengers. Duty-free shops are currently closed. There are a small bar and a post office in the arrivals hall. On the south side of the airport, along runway 06/24, is the domestic terminal currently serving operations of IRS Airlines. Facilities include a newsstand and small bar. Construction of a new domestic terminal, adjacent to the main terminal building, started at the beginning of the 21st century. Construction was abandoned but was resumed. The operator of the airport, Federal Airports Authority Nigeria (FAAN), saw the completion of the new terminal in November 2009. It was commissioned on May 2011.
Some Operational Airlines and Their Destinations at the Airport
The airport has both domestic and international routes it services by some Airlines. Some of these include: Aero Contractors (Lagos), Air Peace (Abuja, Lagos), Azman Air (Abuja, Lagos, Gombe, Kebbi, Port Harcourt), Badr Airlines (Khartoum), Dornier Aviation Nigeria (Seasonal charter to Jeddah), EgyptAir (Cairo), Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa), Eritrean Airlines (Asmara, Khartoum), Flynas (Jeddah), Kabo Air (Seasonal charter to Jeddah), Max Air (Abuja, Lagos and Seasonal charter to Jeddah), Med-View Airline (Lagos, Jeddah), Saudiair (Medina, Jeddah), Sudan Airways (Khartoum), Tarco Airlines (Khartoum), Tchadia Airlines (N’Djamena).
The Airport also services Cargo operations for airlines such as EgyptAir (to Cairo), Saudia Cargo (to Jeddah), Turkish Airlines Cargo (Dakar–Senghor, Istanbul-Atatürk).
Featured Image Source: Tribune Online