21 April 2010
Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport has officially opened its new central terminal building, positioning it as a world-class facility with a passenger capacity of 28-million.
The domestic and international terminals have now been linked to improve passenger experience and orientation at the airport, while a multi-storey parkade for 5 200 vehicles has also been completed, bringing the total number of parking bays in and around OR Tambo International to 17 500.
Additional storage tanks capable of holding 60-million litres of fuel are also now in place.
South African President Jacob Zuma opened the new central terminal building on Tuesday, a day before the country marks 50 days to go to the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ kick-off.
“Our vision of a truly international airport has been realised,” Zuma said, adding that it was a practical example of South Africa’s readiness to host the biggest sporting event in the world.
The revamped OR Tambo International is a culmination of a decade of work, following the government’s decision in 2005 to approve R20-billion in funding for the expansion of airport infrastructure across the country.
“We are now starting to see the results of that investment,” Zuma said, adding that the economic spin-offs of the World Cup and its impact on job creation have been remarkable.
“With the completion of the Gautrain mass rapid transport route from the airport to Sandton, we are confident we will move all our visitors in safety and control once they land.”
He said it was not a coincidence that Africa’s biggest and busiest airport has been named after Oliver Tambo, leader of the African National Congress until 1993. “Oliver Tambo was a true international statesman with the highest regard for the values of human dignity and compassion.”
With the name change, South Africa sought to celebrate Tambo’s sacrifice for equality and freedom.