Murtala Mohammed International Airport: History, Terminals & Lounges

Are you aware that the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria is one of the busiest international airports not just in Nigeria, but in Africa?

Do you also know that annually millions of passengers fly into and around the country via the airport?

About Lagos International Airport

Well, you should know that it is one of the airports in the country with the highest number of airlines and flight destinations.

It is situated in Ikeja, the Lagos State capital. At first, it was constructed during World War ll ear and baptized after Gen. Murtala Mohammed, the slain military ruler of the country.

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There is a lot that you don’t know about the airport. So, in our magnanimity, we are going to take the pain of taking on a journey around the country’s foremost point of entry by foreigners. Relax and enjoy the ride.

History of Murtala Mohammed International Airport

The construction of the airport dates back to the World War II period. The airport’s international wing was built and commissioned over 4 decades ago in 1978. It was modeled after the Amsterdam Airport Schipol.

The wing became publicly operational on the 15th of March 1979. And at the time, it became the major base for Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air

Initially, the airport was called the Lagos International Airport. But, it was renamed after the late Nigerian Head of State, Gen. Murtala Mohammed, who passed on in 1976.

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Since its inception in the 70s, the airport has gone through more than a few renovation projects.

But the most thorough face-lift began in 2013 when the Federal Government of Nigeria under former President Goodluck Jonathan launched a nationwide multi-billion naira transformation and rehabilitation program for airports across the country.

Following the transformation work at the airport, its lounge section was expanded to 4 times its previous size. New conveyor systems for handling passengers were installed.

The systems can accommodate a thousand passengers per hour.

MMIA Terminals

The Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos comprises two terminals.

The international terminal and domestic terminal. They are both situated about 1 kilometer from each other and share the same runways.

  • Domestic Terminal

The domestic terminal of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport handles domestic flights from other parts of the country to Lagos and vice-vasa.

It is owned by a private aviation company known as Bi-Courtney Aviation Services (BASL).

The facilities at the domestic terminal are divided into 3 separate levels. The ground, first and second levels. Each level is designated a function.

The ground level is known as the arrival level. This is where passengers that landed through the airport are attended to. In the arrivals section, you will see the check-in concourse and transportation access.

While the services section contains an information desk, restroom, feeding/drinking, and retail stores, ticketing offices, and banking services.

The first level is the departure level. This is where passengers wait for flights to their various destinations. You will find here the Arik Air Wing boarding part and a VIP lounge too.

The second level houses the various offices of the airlines. Just in case you have inquiries to make or questions to ask, you can just walk into any of the offices and lay your concerns.

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For convenience, there are quite a few restrooms available where you can ease yourself.

Other services you can enjoy while at the domestic terminal. They include; restaurants and cafeterias, shops, ATMs, Currency Exchange Shops, and prayer rooms.

Just In case you want to relax before your scheduled flight or after arrival, there are lounges available.

They include: gabfol lounge which opens from 6 am to 8 pm; the VIP lounge which runs from 6:30 am to the last departures, and the platinum membership lounge which opens from 6 am to the last scheduled departure time.

  • International Terminal

The international terminal handles international flights from Lagos to other countries of the world and vice-vasa. It covers routes to Africa, the Middle East, UAE, and Europe. It is owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Its capacity has been upgraded to handle a thousand passengers per hour following a major renovation in 2013. The facilities at the international terminal are also divided into three levels.

They include; the ground, first and mezzanine levels.

The ground level is known as the arrival level. This is where passengers coming into the country via the airport are attended to.

You can find your find flight schedules and other services at the first level for those traveling out of the country. It is where the departures are found. Here you will see the boarding areas marked out as E-wing and D-wing.

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If you want to relax before your eventual flight, you find some VIP lounges and other facilities at the mezzanine level.

There are various lounges such as:

  • Air France/KLM Lounge: opens from 11 am to 11:30 pm
  • British Airways Lounge: runs from 5:50 pm to 10:30 pm
  • Premium Lounge: opens from 6 am to 12 midnight
  • Skyway Premium Lounge: runs for 24 hours
  • Gabfol Lounge: opens from 6 am to 11 pm
  • First Lounge: runs from 7 am to 10 pm
  • Oasis Lounge: opens from 6:30 am to 11 pm
  • SDS Lounge: runs for 24 hours
  • SDS Llegada Arrival Lounge: runs for 24 hours.

The Murtala Mohammed International Airport has some offices within its vicinity such as:

  • The headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)
  • Head office of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
  • Head office of the Accident Investigation Bureau
  • The Lagos Office of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
  • Arik Air Aviation Center
  • Head office of Aero Contractors

A few accidents and incidences were recorded on the grounds or surrounding environment of the airport. They include:

  • Crashing of Nigeria Airways Flight 825 in 1969
  • Damaging of Douglas C-47B of Arax Airlines in 1981
  • Crashing of Nigerian Airforce C-130 Hercules in 1992
  • The disintegration of ADC Airline Flight 86 in 1996
  • Crashing of the Bellview Airlines Flight 210 in 2005
  • Crashing of Dana Aor Flight 992 in 2012
  • Crashing of Associated Aviation Flight 361 in 2013
  • Delta Air Lines Flight 55 caught fire in 2018
  • Air Peace Boeing 737 suffered a hard landing in 2019
  • Azman Air Boeing 737 blew some of its tyres in February 2021.

This is all you should know about Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. Nigeria.

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