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Airports in South Africa

by Matt Falcus

South Africa has a number of key airport gateways, and many smaller airports and airfields. The country envelops in the independent countries of Swaziland and Lesotho, but on the latter has a commercial airport.

This guide uncovers the airports in South Africa.



Main Airports

Cape Town International

Hub For: Mango, South African Express
Other Airlines: Air Botswana, Air France, Airlink, Air Mauritius, Air Namibia, British Airways, Comair, Condor, Edelweiss Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Fly Blue Crane, FlySafair, Kenya Airways, KLM, Kulula, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAAG Angola, Thomas Cook Airlines, Turkish Airlines
Cape Town is South Africa’s second busiest airport, and the third busiest in Africa. It has two runways and two terminals (linked as part of one large building). Many international airlines serve Cape Town and it supports domestic routes throughout the country through the national carrier and other local airlines.

Durban King Shaka International

Hub For: South African Express
Other Airlines: Air Mauritius, Airlink, Comair, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, FlySafair, Kulula, Mango, Proflight Zambia, Qatar Airways, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines
Cargo Airlines: Airlink Cargo, BidAir Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo, Imperial Air Cargo, South African Airways
Durban’s new airport was opened in 2010, replacing the old airport which is now closed. Purpose built with modern infrastructure, Durban has a single runway, passenger terminal and cargo terminal, and can handle aircraft up to A380 size. It has some long-haul links, including Emirates, Qatar and Turkish Airlines, but mostly serves regional and domestic flights.

Johannesburg O R Tambo International

Hub For: Airlink, Comair, Interair South Africa, South African Airways, South African Express, Mango, Kulula
Other Airlines: Air Austral, Air Botswana, Air China, Air France, Air Madagascar, Air Mauritius, Air Namibia, Air Seychelles, Air Zimbabwe, Arik Air, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, CemAir, Delta, Egypt Air, El Al, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Fastjet, Fly Blue Crane, FlySafair, Iberia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Kulula, LAM Mozambique, LATAM Brasil, Lufthansa, Malawian Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, RwandAir, Saudia, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International, TAAG Angola, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic
Cargo Airlines: BidAir Cargo, Cargolux, Emirates SkyCargo, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo, Etihad Cargo, Imperial Air Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo, Martinair Cargo, Qatar Airways Cargo, Saudia Cargo, Singapore Airlines Cargo, South African Cargo, Turkish Airlines Cargo, Uganda Air Cargo, Wimbi Dira Airways
O R Tambo is the main airport gateway to South Africa, and is Africa’s busiest airport with around 19 million passengers per year. It has two runways and six terminals split into domestic and international areas. A new central terminal building will link all terminals. The airport handles flights from all parts of the world and across Africa. It is also a busy gateway for domestic flights. Many retired airliners were stored here, but the number has been dwindling in recent years.


Other Airports


Airlines: Airlink, Cem Air, Fly Blue Crane, Mango, South African Express, Kulula
Bloemfontein is a domestic airport in the centre of South Africa, close to Lesotho. Its main operator is South African Express with regional turboprops and jets, and the airport has links to all major airports across the country. It has two runways, and is also home to an air force unit.

East London Airport

Airlines: Airlink, FlySafair, Kulula, South African Airways, South African Express
A regional airport on the East Cape handling around 650,000 passengers per year mainly on domestic flights.

George Airport

Airlines: Airlink, Cem Air, FlySafair, Kulula, Mango, South African Express
Situated on the south coast. George Airport has one active runway. As well as domestic flights, George is a busy airport for flight training.

Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport

Airlines: South African Express
Hoedspruit is a South African Air Force base, however part of it operates as Eastgate Airport with links to Johannesburg. It is popular because of its proximity to Krueger National Park, and many tourists pass through on sightseeing flights.

Kimberley Airport

Airlines: Airlink, Fly Blue Crane, South African Express
A small regional airport in central South Africa with domestic links to Cape Town and Johannesburg. It has two runways.

Krueger National Park Airport

Airlines: Airlink, Federal Air, Fly Blue Crane
The busiest airport on South Africa’s eastern border and, as the name suggests, serves the important tourist area of Krueger National Park. Commercial flights link other parts of the country, and local private flying is very popular in association with tourism. The airport has a single runway and a modern terminal building which reflects local architecture.

Lanseria International

Hub For: Comair, Kulula, Solenta Aviation
Other Airlines: FlySafair, Mango
Lanseria is an alternative airport for Johannesburg, situated to the north of the city. It has a single runway and is a busy base for aircraft maintenance and other services. Low cost airlines are the main operators here.

Mahikeng Airport

Airlines: South African Express
Situated on the northern boundary with Botswana, Mahikeng (also known as Mmabatho Airport) has daily flights to Johannesburg and private operators, especially on tourist flights. It is hoped to develop the airport into a cargo hub.

Mala Mala Airport

Airlines: Federal Air
A small airport serving the Mala Mala Game Reserve, with commuter links to Johannesburg and private flights.


Airlines: Cem Air
Mainly used for flight training and general aviation, Margate also has a link to Johannesburg.

Mthata Airport

Airlines: Airlink
Formerly a military base, Mthata Airport is now completely civilian and is undergoing upgrades to make it more accessible. Recently it was in the spotlight when Nelson Mandela’s body was flown here for burial nearby.

Pietermaritzburg Airport

Airlines: FlyGoAir, Airlink, Federal Air
A second airport serving Durban. Pietermartitzburg handles around 125,000 passengers per year mostly on domestic commuter flights.

Pilanesberg International

Airlines: South African Express
A small airport serving Sun City. It has daily flights to Johannesburg, but is otherwise quiet.

Polokwane International

Airlines: South African Express
A new civil airport on a former air force base. Its name suggests much more than it is, with only five passenger flights per day all to Johannesburg.

Port Elizabeth

Airlines: Airlink, Comair, FlySafair, Mango, South African Airways, South African Express
A busy airport on the south coast which mainly handles business and commuter services to domestic destinations via the country’s main airlines. Port Elizabeth has two runways and a modern terminal. The airport is also home to a helicopter unit of the South African Air Force, and on site is the South African Air Force Museum with many interesting aircraft exhibits.

Rand Airport, South Africa

Rand Airport, South Africa

Rand Airport

Hub For: Phoebus Apollo Airlines
Rand is an airport in the south east of Johannesburg and is home to flight training, maintenance and classic aircraft operators. It has no scheduled airline service. It is also home to the South African Airways Museum which, amongst other exhibits, has two Boeing 747s preserved here that dwarf all other operators at the airport. Always an interesting airport to visit in South Africa.

Skukuza Airport

Airlines: Airlink
Skukuza is another airport serving Krueger National Park in the north east of South Africa. The airport has one runway and is served by SA Airlink from a number of domestic cities.

Ulundi Airport

Airlines: Federal Air
A small airport close to Zulu heritage and tourist sites. It is hoped to grow services to the airport, with capacity to serve larger airliners.

Virginia Airport

Airlines: Federal Air
Virginia is located in Durban and is one of South Africa’s busiest general aviation airports. As well as commuter flights by Federal Air, it is home to many air training and charter companies. The Durban Air Show is held hear each year.

Wonderboom Airport

Airlines: Airlink
Wonderboom is located at the city of Pretoria. It was recently upgraded in the hope of attracting more airline services. The airport also sees plenty of light aircraft and executive aircraft activity. It has two runways.



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