Murtala Muhammed International Airport and Location

Filed in BIOGRAPHIES by on November 30, 2019

About Murtala Muhammed International Airport

Murtala Muhammed International Airport | The MMIA is Nigeria’s premier international air gateway. The airport’s history dates back to pre-colonial times, around the time of the Second World War.

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The current international airport terminal was built and commissioned over 40 years ago, in 1978.The terminal opened officially March,15,1979. The airport had been known simply as the Lagos International Airport. It was however, re-named for the late Nigerian Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed, who died in 1976.

The airport terminal has been renovated several times since the 1970s but its most radical make over began in 2013, following the launch of the Federal government’s multi-billion naira Remodelling/ Rehabilitation Programme for its airports nationwide. Under the re-modelling work there, by late in 2014, the MMlA lounge area had been expanded to four times its previous size and new passenger handling conveyor systems installed which can handle over 1,000 passengers per hour.


The airport at Ikeja near Lagos was built during World War II. West African Airways Corporation was formed in 1947 and had its main base at Ikeja. De Havilland Doves were initially operated on WAACs Nigerian internal routes and then West African services. Larger Douglas Dakotas were added to the Ikeja-based fleet from 1957.

Originally known as Lagos International Airport, it was renamed in the mid 1970s, during construction of the new international terminal, after a former Nigerian military head of state Murtala Muhammed. The international terminal was modelled after Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The new terminal opened officially on 15 March 1979. It is the main base for Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport consists of an international and a domestic terminal, located about one kilometre from each other. Both terminals share the same runways. This domestic terminal used to be the old Ikeja Airport. International operations moved to the new international airport when it was ready while domestic operations moved to the Ikeja Airport, which became the domestic airport. The domestic operations were relocated to the old Lagos domestic terminal in 2000 after a fire. A new domestic privately funded terminal known as MMA2 has been constructed and was commissioned on 7 April 2007.

During the late 1980s and 1990s, the international terminal had a reputation of being a dangerous airport. From 1992 through 2000, the US Federal Aviation Administration posted warning signs in all US international airports advising travelers that security conditions at Lagos Airport did not meet ICAO minimum standards. In 1993, the FAA suspended air service between Lagos and the United States. During this period, security at LOS continued to be a serious problem. Travelers arriving in Lagos were harassed both inside and outside of the airport terminal by criminals. Airport staff contributed to its reputation. Immigration officers required bribes before stamping passports, while customs agents demanded payment for nonexistent fees. In addition, several jet airplanes were attacked by criminals who stopped planes taxiing to and from the terminal and robbed their cargo holds.

Related Post: Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport and Location

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Following Olusegun Obasanjo’s democratic election in 1999, the security situation at Lagos began to improve. Airport police instituted a “shoot on sight” policy for anyone found in the secure areas around runways and taxiways, stopping further airplane robberies. Police secured the inside of the terminal and the arrival areas outside. The FAA ended its suspension of direct flights to Nigeria in 2001 in recognition of these security improvements. By 2010, the FAA had granted the airport its highest safety rating.

In 2010, the airport served 6,273,545 passengers.

Recent years have seen substantial improvements at Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Malfunctioning and non-operational infrastructures such as air conditioning and luggage belts have been repaired. The entire airport has been cleaned, and many new restaurants and duty-free stores have opened. Bilateral Air Services Agreements signed between Nigeria and other countries are being revived and new ones signed. These agreements have seen the likes of Emirates, Ocean Air, Delta and China Southern Airlines express interest and receive landing rights to Nigeria’s largest international airport.

Airlines and Destinations


Air France Airbus A330-200 and Emirates Boeing 777-300ER at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, July 2013
Airlines Destinations
Aero Contractors Abuja, Asaba, Benin City, Calabar, Enugu, Kano, Owerri,

Port Harcourt–Omagwa, Uyo

Air Côte d’Ivoire Abidjan
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air Italy1 Milan–Malpensa
Air Namibia2 Accra, Windhoek-Hosea Kutako
Air Peace Abuja, Accra, Akure, Asaba, Banjul, Calabar, Dakar–Diass, Enugu, Freetown, Ibadan, Kebbi, Owerri, Port Harcourt–Omagwa
Africa World Airlines Accra
Arik Air Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Asaba, Banjul, Benin City, Calabar, Dakar–Diass, Douala, Enugu, Freetown, Jos, Kaduna,

Kano, Libreville, Luanda, Monrovia, Owerri, Port Harcourt–Omagwa, Port Harcourt–NAF,[12] Uyo, Warri

ASKY Airlines Accra, Conakry, Douala, Libreville, Lomé
Azman Air Abuja, Kano
British Airways London–Heathrow
Cronos Airlines Douala
Dana Air Abuja, Port Harcourt–Omagwa, Uyo
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, New York–JFK[13]
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
First Nation Airways Abuja, Port Harcourt–Omagwa (all flights suspended)
Guinea Airways Conakry (begins 2 March 2019)
Kenya Airways Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta
KLM Amsterdam
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Malabo
Med-View Airline Abuja, Enugu, Jeddah, Kano, London–Gatwick, Port Harcourt–Omagwa, Yola
Middle East Airlines Abidjan, Beirut
Overland Airways Asaba, Cotonou, Ibadan, Ilorin, Lomé
Qatar Airways Doha
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca
Rwandair Kigali
South African Airways Johannesburg–O.R. Tambo
TAAG Angola Airlines Luanda
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Havalimanı
Virgin Atlantic London–Heathrow
  • ^1 : Air Italy’s flight to Milan-Malpensa from Lagos stops in Accra, but the initial outbound flight from MXP to Lagos is nonstop. Air Italy does not have local traffic rights on the LOS – ACC sector.
  • ^2 : Air Namibia’s flight from Windhoek to Lagos continues to Accra. The airline has 5th Freedom rights to carry traffic between Lagos and Accra.


Airlines Destinations
Air France Cargo N’Djamena, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Allied Air Ostend/Bruges
Cargolux Luxembourg
DHL Aviation
operated by ABX Air
Accra, Bamako, Brussels
Emirates SkyCargo Dubai–Al Maktoum
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Accra, Addis Ababa, Kigali, Liège, London–Heathrow, Miami, Santiago de Chile, São Paulo
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Johannesburg–O.R. Tambo
Qatar Airways Cargo Accra, Doha
Saudia Cargo Dubai–Al Maktoum, Jeddah, Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta, Riyadh, Sharjah
Turkish Airlines Cargo Dubai–Al Maktoum, Istanbul–Atatürk

Other Facilities

The airport includes the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria. It also houses the head office of the Accident Investigation Bureau. The Lagos office of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is located in Aviation House on the grounds of the airport.

Arik Air’s head office is in the Arik Air Aviation Center on the grounds of the airport. Aero Contractors has its head office in the Private Terminal of the Domestic Wing at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

At one time Nigeria Airways had its head office in Airways House on the airport property. Prior to its disestablishment Afrijet Airlines had its head office in the NAHCO Building on the grounds of the airport.

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These data show number of passengers movements into the airport, according to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s Aviation Sector Summary Reports.

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Passengers 3,817,338 3,848,757 4,162,424 5,136,920 5,644,572 6,273,545 6,746,290 6,879,286 7,261,178 7,374,507 7,164,169
Growth (%) Increase 6.74% Increase 0.82% Increase 8.15% Increase23.41% Increase 9.88% Increase11.74% Increase 7.54% Increase 1.97% Increase 5.55% Increase 1.56% Decrease 2.8%
Source: Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). Aviation Sector Reports (2010-2013,[31] 2014,[32] Q3-Q4 of 2015,[33] and Q1-Q2 of 2016,[34])[35]

Accidents and Incidents

  • On 20 November 1969, Nigeria Airways Flight 825 crashed while on approach to Murtala Muhammed International Airport. All 87 passengers and crew on board were killed.
  • Early in 1981, Douglas C-47B 5N-ARA of Arax Airlines was damaged beyond repair in an accident and was subsequently reduced to spares.
  • On 26 September 1992, a Nigerian Air Force C-130 Hercules crashed three minutes after take-off in the nearby Ejigbo canal. Three engines failed, high take-off weight. All 158 people on board were killed.
  • On 11 November 1996, ADC Airlines Flight 86, a Boeing 727-231 was approaching the airport whilst avoiding a potential collision the 727 pilots took evasive action but overcompensated: within sixteen seconds the plane was flying upside down approaching Mach 1. The inverted aircraft disintegrated on impact, near Ejirin, killing all 153 passengers and crew.
  • On 28 November 2003, Lagos control cleared Hydro Air 501, a Boeing 747-200 from Brussels Airport for a landing at Runway 19R. The aircraft ended up hitting a stack of asphalt, then slewed left with its first engine in contact with the surface until the nose wheel came to rest in a drainage ditch. The Ministry of Aviation report concluded that the cause of the accident was that the aircraft was cleared to land on a runway that was “supposed” to have been closed.
  • On 22 October 2005, Bellview Airlines Flight 210, bound for Abuja, crashed after takeoff, killing all 117 people on board.
  • On 3 June 2012, Dana Air Flight 992 crashed in close proximity of the airport. The plane, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, is reported to have banked sharply prior to attempting to land at LOS, subsequently crashing in the nearby residential area of Agege, killing all 153 passengers and crew on board and 10 others on the ground.
  • On 3 October 2013, Associated Aviation Flight 361 crashed shortly after takeoff. The plane was a Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia. 15 people died and 5 people survived the incident.
  • On 13 February 2018, Delta Air Lines flight 55 en route to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, suffered a fire, which was caught in the left hand engine. The Airbus A330-223 aircraft stopped its climb at 2,000 feet and activated the fire suppression, returning to Lagos for a safe landing about 8 minutes after departure. The aircraft was evacuated, 5 people received minor injuries as result of the evacuation

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