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In Africa, the airport experience has long been besieged by chaotic queues, average amenities and a general sense of discomfort for passengers. As business booms on the continent more people are travelling to regional destinations for work, and it’s encouraging to see some African airports are stepping up their game and modernising amenities in a way befitting of modern business travellers.
While it’s not always possible to pick the terminals you transit when travelling for business, you’ll want to take advantage of these niceties if you happen to be on a layover, or you are just quickly passing through one of these airports in Africa. From a comprehensive medical clinic to a book exchange, these airports have undergone extensive upgrades and added some useful features to remain in step with travellers today.
Multi award-winning Cape Town Airport has everything you need in an airport including shops, restaurants, banking facilities and the curiously named ‘Flybrary’. Installed in 2014, the Flybrary offers bookish passengers a stately sanctuary and comfy armchairs to nestle with a book. Best of all, the Flybrary operates on a trade basis; you can pick up any book of your liking and walk away with it, as long as you leave one of your own completed novels in its place. Find the Flybrary in the international arrivals hall on the ground floor at Cape Town International Airport. A novel idea indeed!
Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has seen a marked uptick in the number of passengers who transit through their airport. Ethiopian, the country’s flag carrier, has become a tour de force in recent years, expanding its route network, fleet and winning lots of new customers in the process. Of course, Bole Airport serves as the main hub for the airline and with more than 450 flights per day it has upgraded facilities to satisfy the growth in passenger volume. Ethiopian Airlines’ Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge at Bole International Airport features a traditional Ethiopian coffee corner, buffet style food, a business centre, free Wi-Fi, charging stations, a relaxation room and much more. The Cloud Nine lounge is part of the airline’s “Vision 2025 Fast Growth Plan”.
Feeling roughed up? O.R. Tambo International Airport offers weary travellers a chance to recover with physiotherapists, doctors, dentists among a range of healthcare services. You can also have your eyes tested at the airport or even get an executive medical before going to the gate. The Airport Medical Clinic is located on the ground floor in Terminal B (domestic) and offers emergency treatment 24 hours a day. This is just one of the many facilities at O.R. Tambo Airport designed to make the demands of travel a little easier on you.
Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is Kenya’s largest air travel facility, and the busiest airport in East Africa. JKIA, as the locals know it, has been the mainstay of air travel in Kenya since inception and its significance as an aviation hub sets the bar for other airports in the region. Several lounges are available to departing travellers and while access is restricted to first-class and business-class passengers of certain airlines, some lounges offer passengers their facilities on a pay-as-you go basis so that you can wait it out in comfort.
When it comes to air access into Johannesburg, one of Africa’s main economic hubs, Lanseria Airport is something of a hidden gem. Not only is Lanseria a private airport, it also offers business travellers easy entry to the northern reaches of Joburg. Lanseria’s location means it’s against the flow of traffic from Centurion and Joburg’s north and western suburbs. It’s also handy if you’re flying in for a meeting in Sandton: baggage collection is quick, so just rent a vehicle or take a taxi and you’ll generally be there in under 40 minutes. Lanseria gets our praise for being business traveller friendly.