Cape Town International Airport
Home Industry Inside Cape Town International Airport, the Best in Africa 
Industry - July 8, 2022

Inside Cape Town International Airport, the Best in Africa 

The legislative capital of South Africa serves as home to Cape Town International Airport, which is considered the best on the continent. It, thus, serves as the main international airport in the legislative capital of South Africa – Cape Town.

Due to this, it is the only airport in the city that provides scheduled passenger flights and is located around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the city centre.

This places it as the fourth busiest airport in Africa and the second busiest in South Africa.

Also, the airport has a central terminal that connects its domestic and international terminals.

The Birth of Cape Town

The Cape Town International Airport was born out of the legacy of D.F. Malan Airport in 1954, which was previously Wingfield Aerodrome.

By 1977, with Varig running flights to Rio de Janeiro, the airport gained recognition in South America. With the end of apartheid in the 1990s, the running of the airport was turned over from the state to the newly established South Africa’s Airports body.

This led to the name change from D.F Malan Airport to Cape Town International Airport.

The airport has since then attained several milestones, especially in the twenty-first century. From 2004 to 2005, the airport grew from managing over 6 million passengers.

Between 2007 and 2008, this increased to over 8 million passengers a year. In 2016, international arrivals at the airport surged by 29%, with over 10 million passengers.


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Name change controversy

In the first quarter of 2018, the Airports Company of South Africa Limited (ACSA) was instructed by Bonginkosi Nzimande, South Africa’s Minister of Transport, to rename Cape Town International Airport to Nelson Mandela International Airport.

To this effect, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also proposed to the Parliament in 2019 to rename the airport in honour of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Also, the Khoi community supported the motion of renaming the airport Krotoa International Airport in honour of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

This, however, met with obstacles. One of them is that the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) is in charge of dealing with name changes and that Parliament does not have the constitutional authority to decide on it. Due to this, the motion was denied.


In the Middle East and Africa category of the Airports Council International Airport Service Quality Awards (ACI-ASQ Awards), Cape Town International Airport came in second in 2006, 2007, and 2013, and third in 2008 and 2016.

In the Cape Town Airports’ best performance, it came first in four years in a row from 2010 to 2013.


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