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OR Tambo International Airport


OR Tambo International Airport

To pay tribute to one of the new South Africa's most important founding fathers, Oliver Reginald Tambo, known for his contribution towards the country's liberation, in October 2006, South Africa's flagship airport was renamed to O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA). ORTIA caters to over 17 million passengers every year. It plays a very large role in the economy of its province employing over 18,000 people at the various businesses inside the airport, and at the airport itself.

It is located in in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa, which is close by the city of Johannesburg, and is Africa's busiest airport, having the capacity to accommodate as many as 28 million passengers annually. ORTIA serves as the hub for the largest international and domestic airline in SA, South African Airways (SAA), plus several smaller local airlines.

Prior to the name change in 2006, the airport was called Johannesburg International Airport, and even before that (1994 and prior) was called Jan Smuts International Airport (named after an internationally renowned statesman). The name change occurred in 1994 when the national policy of not naming airports after politicians came about by the newly reformed South African government, which was later reversed, allowing it to be named after Oliver Tambo, a former President of the African National Congress.

Quick airport facts:

  • founded as "Jan Smuts Airport" in 1952
  • replaced the "Palmietfontein International Airport"
  • in the 1970s was used as a test airport for the Concorde
  • in 1996 became the busiest airport in Africa overtaking Cairo International Airport
  • after Dubai International Airport is the 2nd busiest airport in the Africa-Middle East region
  • one of the 100 busiest airports worldwide
  • became the first to host the Airbus A380 in Africa in November 2006
  • has direct flights to all six inhabited continents, one of few in the world
  • used to host the South African Airways Museum, which has since moved to Rand Airport

The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link station


Linking OR Tambo International Airport with Johannesburg and Pretoria is 80-kilometre (50 mi) mass rapid transit railway Gautrain system. The Gautrain is located above the Central Terminal Building at the airport.

Below is a short video of the Gautrain arriving to OR Tambo International Airport.

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Photo Credits:
Wikipedia - Gautrain