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O.R. Tambo International Airport, Gauteng

or tambo international airport gautengO.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) in Johannesburg is the air transport hub of Southern Africa, catering for more than 17 million passengers each year. With more than 18,000 people employed by various companies at ORTIA, the airport plays a vital role in the city's and Gauteng province's economy, and boasts an impressive infrastructure that has expanded by thousands of square metres from its modest origins.

Conference venue near O.R. Tambo International Airport

With more than 18,000 people employed by various companies at ORTIA, the airport plays a vital role in the city's and Gauteng province's economy, and boasts an impressive infrastructure that has expanded by thousands of square metres from its modest origins. ORTIA hosts airlines from all five continents. We have an important role to play in serving the air transport needs of Africa as a whole and are committed to do this to the best of our ability.

The airport boasts a world-class variety of amenities, business centres, retail centres, restaurants and bars, as well as a five-star hotel. A massive multi-million construction project is currently underway at ORTIA to cater for dramatic passenger number increases expected during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and for the imminent arrival of the giant A380 aircraft.

The airport’s name was changed from Johannesburg International Airport to O.R. Tambo International Airport on Friday, 27 October 2006, the late Mr Tambo’s birthday.

History of O.R. Tambo International Airport
The airport was founded in 1952 as "Jan Smuts Airport," two years after his death, near the town of Kempton Park on the East Rand. It displaced the "Palmietfontein International Airport", which had handled European flights since 1945. In the same year of its inception, it had the honourable distinction of ushering in the jet age, when the first commercial flight of a de Havilland Comet took off from London Heathrow Airport bound for Johannesburg.

It was used as a test airport for the Concorde during the 1970s, to determine how the aircraft would perform while taking off and landing at high altitude. During the 1980s, many countries stopped trading with South Africa because of the United Nation sanctions imposed against South Africa in the struggle against apartheid, and many airlines had to stop flying to the airport. These sanctions resulted in South African Airways being refused rights to fly over most African countries, and in addition to this the risk of flying over some African countries was emphasised by the shooting down of two passenger aircraft over Rhodesia, forcing them to fly around the "bulge" of Africa. This required specially-modified aircraft like the Boeing 747-SP. Following the ending of apartheid, the airport's name, and that of other international airports in South Africa, were changed to politically neutral names and these restrictions were discontinued.

The airport overtook Cairo International Airport in 1996 as the busiest airport in Africa and is the second-busiest airport in the Africa-Middle East region after Dubai International Airport. The airport is one of the 100 busiest in the world. In fiscal year 2010, the airport handled 8.82 million departing passengers.

On 26 November 2006, the airport became the first in Africa to host the Airbus A380. The aircraft landed in Johannesburg on its way to Sydney via the South Pole on a test flight.

 


 

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