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 from the city centre, the airport was opened in 1954 to replace Cape Town's previous airport in the suburb of Wingfield. 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 Africa's 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, Asia and Europe. The air route between Cape Town and Johannesburg was the world's fifth busiest air route in 2007 as well as the busiest in Africa, with the air route between Cape Town and Durban being the fifth busiest in Africa.
Cape Town International Airport was opened in 1954, a year after Jan Smuts Airport (now OR Tambo International Airport) on the Witwatersrand opened. The airport replaced Cape Town's previous airport, located at Wingfield. Originally called D.F. Malan Airport 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 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 completion of the 2010 expansion project, it has been proposed that a second runway for large aircraft be constructed at Cape Town International Airport. An expected date for construction of the second runway has yet to be determined.
Late night in new central departures 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, with international passengers heading north towards the international terminal (which contains immigration facilities), and domestic passengers heading south towards the domestic terminal.
The terminal contains 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 . The restaurant level overlooks the airside of the terminal, where a glass curtain wall separates the patrons from the planes 3 storeys below.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate scheduled flights to Cape Town International Airport:
International from Cape Town International Airport. Regional and domestic flights from Cape Town International Airport. Airport and Table Mountain as viewed from the runway upon take-off.
The only hotel located within the airport precinct is the budget Road Lodge, 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.
Traffic and statistics
Cape Town International Airport recorded 7.8 million passengers in 2008-2009, down from 8.4 million passengers the year before. Of those passengers, 1.4 million were international and 6.3 million domestic, with the remainder being classified as "regional" or "unscheduled". 95,643 aircraft traffic movements were recorded; the majority being domestic services. The statistics firmly entrench Cape Town International Airport as being the second busiest airport in South Africa, behind OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and ahead of King Shaka International Airport in Durban.
Annual passenger traffic for Cape Town International Airport
Annual aircraft movements for Cape Town International Airport
The general parking area, with Table Mountain in the background. Cape Town International Airport is approximately 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 provides an additional 4,000 bays, was opened in 2010. The airport also offers a valet parking service.
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.
There is no direct rail access to Cape Town International Airport. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has proposed a rail link between the airport and Cape Town's existing suburban rail network; construction is expected to start in 2013.
Accidents and incidents
- On 26 May 1971, three South African Air Force Hawker-Siddeley HS125 aircraft, practising for a fly past for an upcoming air show at the airport, crashed into Devil's Peak just west of the airfield. The aircraft were destroyed and all 11 crew were killed.
- On 5 June 1983 a Cessna 402B, tail number ZS-KVG, crashed shortly after take-off in inclement weather. Seven out of the nine on board were killed. It transpired that the pilot did not have an instrument rating and had falsified his logbook in order to hire the aircraft.
- On 7 November 2007, a Boeing 737-230, ZS-OEZ, operated by Nationwide Airlines suffered complete separation of the right (starboard) engine at take-off. The take-off was continued and the crew successfully landed the aircraft without injury or loss of life. The aircraft had 106 passengers on board.
One of the aircraft aprons at Cape Town International Airport. The following is an example of information required by aircrew to operate at this airport. Such information is usually found on approach plates and is also disseminated by means of NOTAMs (NOtices To AirMen) and other publications. All information is sourced from the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
- Communication Frequencies
- Cape Town Apron 122.65 MHz
- Clearance Delivery 122.10 MHz
- Surface Movement Control 121.90 MHz
- Cape Town Tower 118.10 MHz
- Cape Town Approach 120.050 MHz
Automatic Terminal Information Service 127.00 MHz
- Magnetic variation 25 W
- Do not confuse THR 16 for THR 19 when taxiing on TWY A1 for take-off on RWY 19.
- Avoid overflying Tygerberg Hospital North of AD, when taking-off from RWY 01 & 34.
Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs) are published for this airport.
- 2011 Best Airport in Africa of the Airport Service Quality Awards by Airports Council International
af:Kaapstad Internasionale Lughawe cs:Mezin rodn leti t Kapsk M sto de:Flughafen Kapstadt es:Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad del Cabo fr:A roport international du Cap ko: id:Bandar Udara Internasional Cape Town it:Aeroporto internazionale di Citt del Capo he: ms:Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Cape Town nl:Cape Town International Airport ja: no:Cape Town internasjonale lufthavn pl:Port lotniczy Kapsztad pt:Aeroporto Internacional da Cidade do Cabo ru: ( ) sv:Kapstadens internationella flygplats th: vi:S n bay qu c t Cape Town zh: