South Africa dominates ranking of continent’s top airports

South Africa may no longer be Africa’s biggest economy but its airports are still the best in the continent.

The Skytrax 2014 World Airport Awards ranks Johannesburg’s OR Tambo as the number one airport in Africa, followed by Cape Town International and Durban’s King Shaka. OR Tambo is in 26th position internationally.

The smaller South African airports of East London, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein are also among the top 10 in the continent.

The only four non-South African airports in the top 10 are Mauritius (fourth), Cairo (fifth), Addis Ababa Bole (ninth) and Marrakech Menara (10th).

Earlier this month Nigeria overtook South Africa as the continent’s largest economy after it rebased its GDP to better reflect current consumption and output. The rebasing revealed an economy of just above US$500bn, nearly double the size originally thought. However, when it comes to the quality of its airports, Nigeria still has some catching up to do as it doesn’t feature prominently in Skytrax’s rankings.

The awards are based on 12.85m questionnaires completed by airline customers, covering 410 airports worldwide.

Best airports in Africa
1Johannesburg OR Tambo International AirportJohannesburgSouth Africa
2Cape Town International AirportCape TownSouth Africa
3Durban King Shaka International AirportDurbanSouth Africa
4Mauritius International AirportPort LouisMauritius
5Cairo International AirportCairoEgypt
6East London AirportEast LondonSouth Africa
7Port Elizabeth AirportPort ElizabethSouth Africa
8Bloemfontein AirportBloemfonteinSouth Africa
9Addis Ababa Bole International AirportAddis AbabaEthiopia
10Marrakech Menara International AirportMarrakechMorocco

In the best airport hotels category, it is also a South African story, with OR Tambo’s InterContinental and Garden Court hotels in first and second spots respectively. Cape Town airport’s Hotel Verde is in fourth position.

Leading airport hotels in other parts of the continent are Cairo’s Novotel (third) and the Radisson Blu in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa (fifth).

In an earlier interview, Andrew McLachlan, head of business development for Africa at Carlson Rezidor, owner of the Radisson Blue brand, identified Addis Ababa as a strong market for the group. He said that currently 80% of the group’s hotels in Africa are geared towards business stay.

The top three airports globally are Singapore Changi, Seoul’s Incheon and Munich.