Are Nigeria’s airports the world's most expensive?

In September 2023, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) ranked Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, both in Nigeria, as the most expensive airports in the world to do business, in terms of levy and tax charges.

Murtala Muhammed Airport

Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos Image: FAAN

At the Aviation Africa summit held in Abuja, on September 13-14, 2023, IATA’s vice president, Africa and Middle East, Kamil Al Alwadi, said: “Abuja has the highest charges followed by Lagos. How can you have such high taxes and expect to be profitable?”

At the 55th annual general assembly and summit of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) in Kampala, Uganda, held on November 19-21, 2023, IATA made a comparison, stating that Lagos (LOS) and Abuja (ABV) were the most expensive airports in the world as the passenger service charge was $100 per passenger, while Doha (DOH), the best airport in the world, charged $44 for that service and Dubai (DXB) charged $40.

Nigeria’s aviation stakeholders reacted to this assertion at the quarterly business breakfast meeting of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) held in Lagos, on December 7, 2023, under the theme: “Nigerian aviation sector: charges, duties, and tariffs, truly exorbitant?”

President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye, called for an investigation to determine whether or not IATA’s assertion is correct.

“There is a need for investigative analysis of all airports in the world, to have a composition of all the existing airports taxes and charges, comparing airports of the same category, before arriving at a general rating,” she said.

Chief operating officer of Bicourtney Aviation Services, operators of MMA2 terminal, Lagos, Tosan Duncan Odukoya said there was need to assess whether or not they are extortionary or actually realistic charges, but that if collected, “the charges should be used for the good of the travelling public.”

At the end of the meeting, stakeholders resolved in a communiqué that the country’s aspiration to be competitive was being burdened by this challenge and “it is important for Nigeria as a nation to cease taxing seeds and, instead, foster an environment that encourages businesses to thrive.”

Chiedu Albinus Emeke

Chiedu Albinus Emeke

Chiedu has been a West Africa correspondent for African Aerospace since 2016.