King Mswati III International Airport

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King Mswati III International Airport
King Mswati III International Airport - Terminal.jpg
Airport typePublic
OperatorEswatini Civil Aviation Authority (ESWACAA)
LocationLubombo, Eswatini
Coordinates26°21′24″S 031°43′01″E / 26.35667°S 31.71694°E / -26.35667; 31.71694Coordinates: 26°21′24″S 031°43′01″E / 26.35667°S 31.71694°E / -26.35667; 31.71694
SHO is located in Eswatini
Airport location
Direction Length Surface
ft m
02/20 11,810 3,600 Asphalt
Source: DAFIF[1][2] Google Earth[3]

King Mswati III International Airport (IATA: SHO, ICAO: FDSK), originally named Sikhuphe International Airport,[4] is an airport in Eswatini.[5] It replaced Matsapha Airport as the only international airport in Eswatini accepting commercial flights in 2014. It is designed to handle 360,000 passengers per year.

Airside view of terminal
An Airlink Embraer 135 on the tarmac


Construction began in 2003 on this $150m project. The Taiwanese government contributed USD 22m to the project.[6]

It is part of King Mswati III's $1bn millennium project investment initiative to enhance Eswatini's position as a tourist destination, serving as a tourism gateway to Eswatini's game parks, either domestic or nearby located ones, such as Victoria Falls, Maputo, the Kruger National Park and KwaZulu-Natal game reserves.[7] However, it has been on the drawing board since 1980, and since then Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport has opened and Maputo and Durban airports have been upgraded.[8] There are also environmental concerns since Sikhupe is near Hlane game park, and may put rare species of eagles and vultures at risk.[9]

King Mswati III International Airport was planned to replace Matsapha airport by 2010, with the latter being taken over by the army.[5][10]

King Mswati III International Airport was inaugurated on 7 March 2014, despite not yet having an IATA license to operate.[4] Service began 30 September 2014.[11][12]


Plans include a 3,600m CAT 1 runway, and capacity for 300,000 passengers per year. It would be able to handle Boeing 747 aircraft, and service flights to any destination in the world.[7]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Eswatini AirlinkJohannesburg–O. R. Tambo


  1. ^ Airport information for FDMS from DAFIF (effective October 2013)
  2. ^ Airport information for SHO at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  3. ^ Google Earth - Sikhupe
  4. ^ a b "Swaziland king opens 'white elephant' airport". News24 Nigeria. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. Swaziland's ruler, however, defended the airport, which was built under the name Sikhuphe International Airport but was on Friday renamed King Mswati-III International Airport.
  5. ^ a b "Sikhuphe to receive the world early next year". Retrieved 15 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Airport Development News" (PDF). ACI World. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Sikhuphe International Airport, Swaziland". Net Resources International. Retrieved 5 October 2009.[unreliable source?]
  8. ^ "Swaziland's Millennium Projects". February–May 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  9. ^ Hall, James (13 September 2004). "A White Elephant for Those Jumbo Jets?". Inter Press Service News Agency. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  10. ^ Vilakati, Faith (14 September 2009). "Army to take over Matsapha Airport". The Swazi Observer. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Swaziland's King Mswati airport finally gets going". Independent Online. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Swaziland: Airlink Forced to Use King's Airport". Retrieved 21 August 2016.

External links[edit]

Media related to King Mswati III International Airport at Wikimedia Commons