The Oliver Tambo Airport which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa serves as the main entry point for visitors into the country. It is located in Kempton Park and handles much of the country’s air passenger count.
History of the Oliver Tambo Airport
- Founded in 1952, the Jan Smuts Airport was named for a former Prime Minister of South Africa. Jan Christiaan Smuts was a prominent statesmen and the only man to have signed peace treaties that ended the First and Second World War. It was named in his honour 2 years after his death.
- The airport was a test site in the 1970’s for the Concorde aircraft.
- During the period of apartheid, trade sanctions caused much international airlines to remove the airport from their route.
- The airport underwent a name change in 1994 to Johannesburg International Airport, after apartheid was abolished. Neutral names were given to other airports in the country as well.
- Following this, the airport became the busiest in Africa. Additionally, the Oliver Tambo Airport is also the largest on the continent.
- In 2006 the airport again underwent a name change to the current Oliver Tambo International Airport
- In the same year the Oliver Tambo Airport became the first in Africa to land the Airbus aircraft.
About Oliver Tambo Airport
- The Oliver Tambo Airport is one of a handful worldwide which is able to offer non-stop flights to every continent (except for the remote Antarctica).
- The Oliver Tambo International Airport houses one of the longest runways in the world which measures at 4400 meters long.
- In total, there are 6 terminals at the airport
- The Oliver Tambo Airport has the capacity to handle 28 million passengers per year.
- The airport can also handle over 650000 tons of cargo per year.
- The airport caters for commercial as well as private travellers.
- The Johannesburg/Cape Town route from the Oliver Tambo Airport is one of the ten busiest routes in the world.
- There are over a 100 stores at the Oliver Tambo Airport which are open from 6 in the morning and close at 10 at night. These include gift, liquor, and clothing, souvenir stores among other with salons, dry cleaning and pharmacies.
Facilities at the Oliver Tambo Airport
Banking – 5 banking institutions have a branch at the Oliver Tambo Airport. These are FNB, Standard Bank, Nedbank, African Bank and ABSA. ATM’s can also be found throughout the terminals for access to cash. Foreign exchange services at the airport can be done at Bidvest Bank, Travelex and Master Currency.
Prayer rooms – a Muslim prayer room is open all day long for some prayer time. A prayer service is held every Friday afternoon. A Christian chapel is also open all day long. Prayer services here are done on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday afternoons as well as an evening service on Wednesdays
Lounges – there are over a dozen business class lounges at the airport. Business class passengers on a flight have free access to their airlines lounge. Access can also be gained by other passengers, though they will have to pay a fee. The lounges offer a quiet area away from the rest of the airport with snacks, drinks, and Wi-Fi as well as shower facilities.
Conferencing – a full conference centre in the domestic terminal is available for hire for conferences, seminars or general business meetings. There are 10/12/14 seater rooms, seminar rooms for up to 50 people and a conference room which can seat 60 or 120 people.
Disabled facilities – the airport caters strongly to the particular needs of disabled travellers with special parking bays in the Parkade area as well as ramps, specials lifts and toilets in the terminals.
WiFi – WiFi is available in certain areas of the terminal buildings for visitors to the airport. The service will need to be registered for before it can be accessed. If there is any trouble, the information desk at the airport can be sought out for help.
Medical bay – the medical bay at the Oliver Tambo Airport is open 24 hours a day, ready to tackle emergency treatment. The bay also houses among others, a General Practitioner, Dentist, Optician, Gynaecologist and Physiotherapist. The bay is also available for travel vaccinations and counselling.
Post office – a Post Office can be found in the International terminal and a Postnet in the Domestic terminal.
Viewing deck – there are 2 viewing decks at the Oliver Tambo Airport which can be found at the Domestic and International terminal buildings.
Restrooms – restrooms with toilets and baby changing areas are available in all of the terminal buildings
Oliver Tambo Airport hotels – City Lodge Hotel has a base at the airport. There are also options for other Oliver Tambo Airport hotels which are not situated at the airport, but nearby offering a good option for those who want close lodgings to the airport.
Transport options from the Oliver Tambo Airport
- Car rental – the 10 car rental companies based at the Oliver Tambo Airport are Avis, Bidvest, Europcar, First Car Rental, Select, Capital, Hertz, Tempest, Thrifty and Woodford Car Hire. They are a good blend of local and international car hire companies.
- Gautrain – the Gautrain is a rail system that runs around Gauteng. On average, stops are made at the Oliver Tambo Airport every 12 minutes. This service is open from 5:15 in the morning until 22:00 at night
- Taxis – only taxis accredited by the airport are allowed to operate at the airport.
- Buses – public buses offer transport to and from the airport to areas around the city centre.
- Pick-up – passengers arriving at the airport can arrange for someone to pick them up. The pick-up area is located outside of the arrivals terminal and is free for a short period. The airport also has other short term parking in the Parkade building which has over 15000 parking bays. Long term parking is also provided at the Oliver Tambo Airport if passengers would want to park their own car off before flying out.