OR Tambo Internationl Airport was originally named Jan Smuts Airport in 1952, two years after the death of the previous Prime Minister of South Africa.
The airport had a name change to Johannesburg International Airport in 1994, and finally in 2006, to OR Tambo International airport.
As Africas busiest airport - the huge increase in passenger numbers due to a booming tourism industry as well as increased business demands, made it absolutely essential to redevelop a very outdated airport as we knew it in 1995, into a modern airport, as it is today, in line with developments at other international airports.
Construction work during the redevelopment of the OR Tambo International Airport
This resulted in a R5,2billion outlay, of which R3billion was allocated to the infrastructural development of :
- the central terminal building (R2billion),
- the international pier (R535million),
- an upgrade of Terminal A departures and the relocation of the upper roadway (R76million) and
- additional parking in the form of a multi-story parkade (R470million).
The central terminal building now houses both Terminal A and Terminal B, as in line with international trends.
These terminals will be used by both international and domestic airlines, which allows those carriers with domestic and international routes, to use the same check-in counters.
The central terminal building is linked to the public transport centre, and includes a station for the Gautrain Rapid Rail System, and an infrastructure for taxis, buses and other modes of transport.
This ensures that passengers transport options that are dependable, well-situated and safe.
Due to congestion, the International departure terminal was upgraded first, and a new, streamlined and much more user-friendly terminal has resulted.
With a wide forecourt, 33 lifts, 75 check-in counters, two 90metre-long baggage carousels and 34 escalators, the design of the building has allowed the speeding up of luggage handling and faster passenger movement.
10,000msq of retail shop space was built, most of which is occupied by local and international retailers.
Seven new aircraft parking stands were added to the international pier, bringing the handling capacity to 105.
Two 6,000m cub. litre storage tanks were installed, making an additional 60 million litres available.
Parking used to be a nightmare, but the completion of a second multistorey parkade - with an additional 4,500 parking bays, plus the update of technology to indicate empty parking bays, has made life a lot more pleasant.
A lot of attention has been paid to the disease that permeates so much of South African society dishonesty.
Whether youre the highest in the land or just a mere mortal, amoral behaviour is sadly being tolerated more and more as the accepted norm.
As a result, the huge problem of baggage pilferage, has been receiving special attention.
Given the recent developments, the airport is now able to handle around 28 million passengers per year.