ⓘ Cape Town International Airport

Cape Town International Airport

ⓘ Cape Town International Airport

Cape Town International Airport is the primary airport serving the city of Cape Town, and is the second-busiest airport in South Africa and fourth-busiest in Africa. Located approximately 20 kilometres from the city centre, the airport was opened in 1954 to replace Cape Towns previous airport, Wingfield Aerodrome. Cape Town International Airport is the only airport in the Cape Town metropolitan area that offers scheduled passenger services. The airport has domestic and international terminals, linked by a common central terminal.

The airport has direct flights from South Africas other two main urban areas, Johannesburg and Durban, as well as flights to smaller centres in South Africa. Internationally, it has direct flights to several destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States. The air route between Cape Town and Johannesburg was the worlds ninth-busiest air route in 2011 with an estimated 4.5 million passengers.


1. History

D.F. Malan Airport was opened in 1954, a year after Jan Smuts Airport now OR Tambo International Airport on the Witwatersrand, near Johannesburg, opened. The airport replaced Cape Towns previous airport, Wingfield Aerodrome. Originally named after the then South African prime minister, it initially offered two international flights: a direct flight to Britain and a second flight to Britain via Johannesburg.

With the fall of apartheid in the early 1990s, ownership of the airport was transferred from the state to the newly formed Airports Company South Africa, and the airport was renamed to the politically neutral Cape Town International Airport. The first years of the twenty-first century saw tremendous growth at the airport; from handling 6.2 million passengers per annum in 2004–05, the airport peaked at 8.4 million passengers per annum in 2007–08 before falling back to 7.8 million in 2008–09. In 2016, the airport saw a 29% increase in international arrivals; 2016 also saw the airport handle 10 million passengers per annum.


1.1. History Name change

On 16 April 2018, it was reported in the Cape Times that the Minister of Transport, Bonginkosi Nzimande, had directed ACSA on 22 March 2018 to change the name of Cape Town International Airport to Nelson Mandela International Airport. The name change was discussed and as yet no name change had been published in the Government Gazette.

On 5 March 2019, the EFF filed a motion in Parliament calling for the renaming of Cape Town International Airport after anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. One of the arguments of the opposition was that the Parliament is not constitutionally empowered to resolve on any name change and that it was the responsibility of the South African Geographical Names Council SAGNC to deal with name changes. The motion was not successful. Until such time as the name change has been published in the Government Gazette, it remains Cape Town International Airport.


2. Developments

In preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Cape Town International Airport was extensively expanded and renovated. The main focus was the development of a Central Terminal Building at a cost of R1.6 billion, which linked the formerly separate domestic and international terminals and provided a common check-in area. The departures level of the Central Terminal opened in November 2009, with the entire building opened in April 2010.

Apart from the completion of the 2010 expansion project,it has been proposed that a second runway for large aircraft be constructed at the airport, to be completed by 2015. In May 2015, Airports Company South Africa announced a R7.7 billion expansion for the airport.The expansion includes the upgrades of the Domestic & International terminals. The expansion project is set to start construction at the end of 2018 and to be completed by mid-2022.


3.1. Facilities Terminal

The airport has two terminals linked by the central terminal.

Central Terminal

The terminal building has a split-level design, with departures located in the upper floors and arrivals in the lower floors; an elevated roadway system provides vehicular access to both departures and arrivals levels. All check-in takes place within the Central Terminal Building, which contains 120 check-in desks and 20 self-service kiosks. Passengers then pass through a consolidated security screening area before dividing.Passengers flying internationally head to the northern part of the airport which is the international terminal, and passengers flying to other parts of South Africa head to the southern part of the airport to the domestic terminal.

The terminal has 10 air bridges, evenly split between domestic and international usage. Sections of lower levels of the domestic and international terminals are used for transporting passengers via bus to and from remotely parked aircraft.

Arriving passengers collect luggage in the old sections of their respective terminals, before proceeding through new passageways to the new Central Terminal Building. The terminal contains an automated baggage handling system, capable of handling 30.000 bags per hour.

Retail outlets are located on the lower arrivals level of the terminal at landside, as well as airside at the departure gates. Retail outlets are diverse, including foreign exchange services, bookstores, clothing retailers, grocery stores, souvenir outlets and duty-free in international departures. Restaurants within the terminal building are located on the upper 3rd level above the departures level, which includes what is purported to be the largest Spur restaurant on the African continent, at 1.080 m 2 11.600 sq ft. The restaurant level overlooks the airside of the terminal, where a glass curtain wall separates the patrons from the planes 3 storeys below. On the 4th floor is where the airports lounges are situated. The Bidvest as well as South African Airways lounges can be found.

International Terminal

The international terminal is located on the northern side of the airport. Customs and Immigration facilities, lounges, duty free shops, restaurants, prayer rooms, conference rooms, airline offices, and chapels are located in the terminal.

Domestic Terminal

Located on the southern side of the airport, it has the same facilities as the international terminal with exception of Immigration facilities.


3.2. Facilities Other facilities

There are two hotels located within the airport precinct, one being Hotel Verde, a four-star hotel owned by Bon Hotels, considered to be "Africas greenest hotel", and other being Road Lodge, a budget hotel owned by the City Lodge hotel chain group. An ExecuJet facility is located near the southern end of the main runway, and caters for business jets. The airport also has a MyCiti BRT station, which connects across the whole of Cape Town including east of the city of Khayelitsha.


4. Airlines and destinations

  • ^3: This flight operates via Johannesburg. However this carrier does not have rights to transport passengers solely between Cape Town and Johannesburg.
  • ^1: This flight operates via Victoria Falls/Livingstone.
  • ^2: This flight operates via Harare. Rwandair has full traffic rights to transport passengers between Harare and Cape Town.

5.1. Ground transport Car

Cape Town International Airport is approximately 20 kilometres 12 mi from the city centre and is accessible from the N2 freeway, with Airport Approach Road providing a direct link between the N2 at exit 16 and the airport. The airport can also be indirectly accessed from the R300 freeway via the M12, M10 and M22.

The airport provides approximately 1.424 parking bays in the general parking area, and 1.748 parking bays in the multi-storey parkade located near the domestic terminal. A new parkade, which is located near the international terminal and while a provides an additional 4.000 bays, was opened in 2010. The airport also offers a valet parking service.


5.2. Ground transport Public transport

The MyCiTi bus rapid transit system provides a shuttle service connecting the airport with the Civic Centre bus station in the city centre. Buses depart every 20 minutes from 04:20 to 22:00. Transport to and from the airport is also provided by metered taxis and various private shuttle companies.


5.3. Ground transport Rail link

There is no direct rail access to Cape Town International Airport. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has proposed a 4 km 2.5 mi rail link between the airport and Cape Towns existing suburban rail network.


6. Accolades

  • 2013 – Best Airport Staff in Africa award by Skytrax
  • 2011 – Best Airport in Africa of the Airport Service Quality Awards by Airports Council International
  • 2013 – Best Airport in Africa award by Skytrax
  • 2012 – Best Airport in Africa award by Skytrax
  • 2009 – Best Airport in Africa award by Skytrax, ahead of Durban International Airport and OR Tambo International Airport.
  • 2018 – Best Airport in Africa award by Skytrax
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