OR Tambo Airport

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OR Tambo International Airport

26 ° 8 '1 "  S , 28 ° 14' 32"  E Coordinates: 26 ° 8 '1 "  S , 28 ° 14' 32"  O

Height above MSL 1694 m (5558  ft )
Transport links
Street R24, R21
Local transport Gautrain
Basic data
opening 1952
operator Airports Company South Africa (ACSA)
surface 1600 ha
Terminals 7th
Passengers 21,313,943 (2018/19)
Air freight 390,000 t (2014)
219,586 (2018/19)
03R / 21L 3405 m × 60 m asphalt
03L / 21R 4421 m × 60 m asphalt

i7 i10 i11 i13

The OR Tambo International Airport (1994-2006 Johannesburg airport) and Johannesburg International Airport , is an international airport near Johannesburg in South Africa . The area of ​​the airport is 1600 hectares.

The busiest airport in Africa is the hub of the largest African airline South African Airways as well as numerous smaller companies. It also acts as an airport for the capital Pretoria .

Location and transport links

The OR Tambo International Airport is located beyond the territory of the metropolitan municipality of City of Johannesburg , near its eastern edge, in the area of ​​the city of Kempton Park . To the south of the airport is the town of Benoni ; both belong to the metropolitan municipality of Ekurhuleni .

The airport site can be reached via the road network primarily via the N12 national road , which runs along the southern periphery of the airport in an east-west direction. From there, at the Rietfontein junction, the R21 regional road, which has been developed like a motorway, branches off towards the north, which enables car traffic to enter and exit at the main entrance and continues, crossing the N1 , to Pretoria . Another regional road, the R24, leads to the airport from the west. It branches off the N12 at the Meadowbrook junction in Germiston . In a westerly direction it creates a direct connection to the Central Business District of Johannesburg via Albertina Sisulu Road .

A section of the Gautrain public transport system runs from the greater Johannesburg area to the airport.

Johannesburg's public bus system serves the airport ( JNB Airport Transportation ). It operates under the Rea Vaya label . In addition, there is the possibility of arriving and departing with minibuses from private providers.


The airport was built in 1952 as Jan Smuts Airport near the city of Kempton Park (East Rand). In the same year the jet age was heralded when the first commercial flight of the De Havilland DH.106 Comet landed here from London Heathrow Airport .

Jan Smuts Airport was also the test airport for the Concorde model during the 1970s - specifically to assess flight behavior at high-altitude airports. During the 1980s, many countries blocked economic relations because of apartheid , so that numerous airlines stopped operating the airport.

Since 1996, the airport has been the most frequented airport on the continent in terms of flight movements, replacing Cairo International Airport . More than 20 million passengers were handled in 2016. The airport is also one of the 100 busiest in the world.

In October 2006 the South African government renamed the airport to OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA). Oliver R. Tambo was chairman of the African National Congress in the 1980s and thus one of the leaders of the anti-apartheid movement.

The new International Pier and the Domestic Terminal were completed in 2007. By the end of 2009, the airport was modernized to cope with the onslaught that was expected for the 2010 World Cup .

Flight operations

International air traffic

Overview of the terminal buildings

The most important airlines operating here are South African Airways (Terminals A and B), Air France (Terminal A), KLM (Terminal A), Emirates (Terminal A) and more than 40 foreign companies, including Lufthansa , Swiss International Air Lines and British Airways . The domestic flights from Domestic Airport are served by South African Express .

Due to the altitude of 1694 m above sea level, the air pressure and the air density at the airport are lower. This is particularly problematic at high air temperatures. Because of the lower air density, the aircraft need a longer take-off distance for the same weight than at lower-lying airports (see also explanation under Hot and High ). For a flight to New York City with a Boeing 747-400 or an Airbus A340-300, it was necessary to land in Lagos , Dakar or Ilha do Sal for refueling because the runways for fully fueled aircraft of these types are too short. Since South African Airways put the Airbus A340-600 in the fleet, the route can also be operated non-stop.

There are two parallel asphalt slopes (running north-south, 3400 m and 4400 m long). A third runway is to be built soon to cross it.

The airport is also regularly served by Airbus A380 aircraft.

Domestic flights

There is an internal airport , the Domestic Airport, on the entire site . Domestic flights depart from this. There are passport and customs controls between the international and domestic areas, as is the case with every entry and exit at a national border.

Air freight

The OR Tambo International Airport also handles cargo flights from numerous companies such as Cargolux , Lufthansa Cargo or Martinair .


  • On March 1, 1988, an Embraer EMB 110 (ZS-LGP) , which Comair Limited had leased from Bop Air , broke in the air after a bomb explosion on the flight from Phalaborwa to Johannesburg a few minutes before landing. All 17 people on board were killed. A passenger who had recently taken out high life insurance was probably the culprit (see also Comair Limited flight 206 )
  • On 3 November 2001 crashed a Reims-Cessna F406 of GJ Air (ZS-OIG) , with a flight to the Eros Airport in Namibia should be performed shortly after taking off from the airport in Johannesburg. All three people on board were killed. The accident investigation revealed a loss of control along the roll and pitch axis, caused by a 16 percent overload and incorrect weight distribution. Other significant operational violations were identified: the airworthiness and operating certificates had expired, the operational limits of the engines were exceeded, the load was unsecured and a passenger was transported even though there was neither a seat nor a restraint device on board (see also a Reims-Cessna flight accident F406 at Johannesburg Airport ) .

Competing airports

In the north of the City of Johannesburg, not far from Diepsloot and Sandton , there is the privately operated Lanseria International Airport . On the Rand Airport in Germiston land inland flights.

Traffic figures

Traffic figures for OR Tambo International Airport 2012 / 13–2018 / 2019
year Passenger volume Flight movements
2018/19 21,313,943 219,586
2017/18 21.231.510 220,644
2016/17 20,692,780 220.934
2015/16 20,374,998 224.191
2014/15 19.135.093 217,627
2013/14 18,820,988 206603
2012/13 18,621,259 199,802
  1. The traffic figures are valid for the fiscal year , which ends on March 31st.

See also

Web links

Commons : OR Tambo International Airport  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Passenger Statistics. Airports.co.za , accessed June 2, 2019 .
  2. OR Tambo affirms its cargo hub status. ( Memento from January 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) sanews.gov.za (English)
  3. a b Aircraft Movements. Airports.co.za , accessed June 2, 2019 .
  4. a b c Johannesburg International Airport , johannesburg-airport.com (English)
  5. By bus and train, between cities , reavaya.org.za (English)
  6. SA's top airports see record-breaking arrivals for 2016. Traveler24, February 15, 2017.
  7. JNB Airport Airlines , johannesburg-airport.com (English)
  8. Aircraft accident data and report Comair, Embraer EMB 110, March 1, 1988 in the Aviation Safety Network (English)
  9. Lanseria International Airport , lanseria.co.za (English)
  10. Rand Airport , randairport.co.za (English)