Murtala Mohammed International Airport
Murtala Muhammed International Airport is an international airport located in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria, and is the major airport serving the entire state. The airport was initially built during World War II and is named after Murtala Muhammed, the fourth military ruler of Nigeria.
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 modeled after Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The new terminal opened officially on 15 March 1979. It is the main base for Nigeria’s largest airline, Air Peace, as well as for several other Nigerian airlines.
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.
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.