Cape Town International Airport

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Cape Town International Airport

Kaapstad Internasionale Lughawe
2013.01.03 Ciudad del Cabo, ZA (22).JPG
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorAirports Company South Africa
ServesCity of Cape Town
LocationMatroosfontein, Western Cape, South Africa
Opened1954; 68 years ago (1954)
Hub for
Focus city forSouth African Airways
Elevation AMSL46 m / 151 ft
Coordinates33°58′10″S 018°35′50″E / 33.96944°S 18.59722°E / -33.96944; 18.59722Coordinates: 33°58′10″S 018°35′50″E / 33.96944°S 18.59722°E / -33.96944; 18.59722
CPT is located in Cape Town
Location within the Cape Town metropolitan area
CPT is located in Western Cape
CPT (Western Cape)
CPT is located in South Africa
CPT (South Africa)
CPT is located in Africa
CPT (Africa)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 3,201 10,502 Asphalt
16/34 1,701 5,581 Asphalt
Statistics (Jan-Dec 2019)
Aircraft movements94,027

Cape Town International Airport (IATA: CPT, ICAO: FACT) is the primary international airport serving the city of Cape Town, and is the second-busiest airport in South Africa and fourth-busiest in Africa. Located approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the city center, the airport was opened in 1954 to replace Cape Town's previous airport, Wingfield Aerodrome. 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 centers in South Africa. Internationally, it has direct flights to several destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States. The air route between Cape Town and Johannesburg was the world's ninth-busiest air route in 2011 with an estimated 4.5 million passengers.[1]


D.F. Malan Airport was opened in 1954, a year after Jan Smuts Airport (now OR Tambo International Airport) on the Witwatersrand, near Johannesburg, opened. The airport replaced Cape Town's previous airport, Wingfield Aerodrome. Originally named 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.[2] By 1977, the airport had acquired nonstop connectivity with South America, with Varig operating flights to Rio de Janeiro.[3]

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,[4] and the airport was renamed to the politically neutral Cape Town International Airport.[5] Additionally, South African Airways launched a route to North America in 1992, linking Cape Town to Miami.[6] The destination of this flight later changed to Fort Lauderdale and finally to Atlanta.[7][8]

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.[citation needed] On the other hand, South African Airways had terminated the flight to Atlanta by 2006.[9] In 2011, Malaysia Airlines withdrew its service to Buenos Aires, which had begun in the 1990s.[10][11]

In 2016, the airport saw a 29% increase in international arrivals; 2016 also saw the airport handle 10 million passengers per annum.[citation needed] Three years later, a new connection to North America commenced upon United Airlines' arrival from Newark.[12]

Name change[edit]

On 16 April 2018, it was reported in the Cape Times that the Minister of Transport, Bonginkosi Nzimande, had directed ACSA on 22 March 2018 to change the name of Cape Town International Airport to Nelson Mandela International Airport.[13] The name change was discussed and as yet no name change had been published in the Government Gazette.[14]

On 5 March 2019, the EFF filed a motion in Parliament calling for the renaming of Cape Town International Airport after anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. While members of the Khoi community pushed for the airport to be named after the! Uriǁ'aeǀona translator and cultural icon Krotoa.[15] One of the arguments of the opposition was that Parliament is not constitutionally empowered to resolve any name change and that it was the responsibility of the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) to deal with name changes. The motion was not successful.[16]

Until a name change has been published in the Government Gazette, it remains Cape Town International Airport. In February 2021, the Cape Times reported that the proposed name change of the airport had been "quietly ditched".[17]


Apron view
Check-in hall
Local and international departures area on the upper floor of the Central Terminal.
Interior of the International Arrivals floor

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,[18] which linked the formerly separate domestic and international terminals and provided a common check-in area.[19] The departures level of the Central Terminal opened in November 2009, with the entire building opened in April 2010.[18]

Apart from the now-completed 2010 expansion project, it had been proposed that a second runway for large aircraft be constructed at the airport, to be completed by 2015. However, this second runway has not been constructed. In May 2015, Airports Company South Africa announced a R7.7 billion expansion for the airport. The expansion includes the upgrades of the Domestic & International terminals. The expansion has been postponed indefinitely due to the drop in passenger numbers due to the global COVID-19 pandemic from 2020.[20]



The airport has two terminals linked together by one central terminal.

Central Terminal

The terminal building has a split-level design, with departures located on the upper floors and arrivals in the lower floors; an elevated roadway system provides vehicular access to both departures and arrivals levels.[19] All check-in takes place within the Central Terminal Building, which contains 120 check-in desks and 20 self-service kiosks.[19] Passengers then pass through a consolidated security screening area before dividing. Passengers flying internationally head to the northern part of the airport which is the international terminal, and passengers flying to other parts of South Africa head to the southern part of the airport to the domestic terminal.

The terminal has 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.[19]

Arriving passengers collect luggage in the old sections of their respective terminals, before proceeding through new passageways to the new Central Terminal Building.[18] The terminal contains an automated baggage handling system, capable of handling 30,000 bags per hour.[19]

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 1,080 m2 (11,600 sq ft).[19] The restaurant level overlooks the airside of the terminal, where a glass curtain wall separates the patrons from the planes three stories below. On the 4th floor is where the airport's lounges are situated. The Bidvest, as well as South African Airways lounges, can be found here.

International Terminal

The international terminal is located on the northern side of the airport. Customs and Immigration facilities, lounges, duty-free shops, restaurants, prayer rooms, conference rooms, airline offices, and chapels are located in the terminal.

Domestic Terminal

Located on the southern side of the airport, it has the same facilities as the international terminal, with the exception of Immigration facilities.

Other facilities[edit]

There are two hotels located within the airport precinct: Hotel Verde, a four-star hotel owned by Bon Hotels and ranked as "Africa's greenest hotel",[21] and the other being Road Lodge, a budget hotel 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. The airport also has a MyCiti BRT station which connects across the whole of Cape Town, including east of Khayelitsha.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air Belgium Brussels (begins 14 September 2022)[22]
Air Botswana Gaborone
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle (resumes 30 October 2022)[23]
Air Mauritius Seasonal: Mauritius (resumes 16 November 2022)[24]
Airlink Bloemfontein, George, Harare,[25] Hoedspruit, Johannesburg–O. R. Tambo, Kimberley, Maputo (begins 31 August 2022),[26] Maun, Mbombela, Port Elizabeth, Skukuza, Upington, Victoria Falls, Walvis Bay,[27] Windhoek–Hosea Kutako
Seasonal: Saint Helena (temporarily suspended)[28]
Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Vienna (resumes 1 November 2022)[29]
British Airways London–Heathrow
Seasonal: London–Gatwick (resumes 13 December 2022)[30]
CemAir Durban, Hoedspruit, Johannesburg–O. R. Tambo, Plettenberg Bay[31]
Condor Seasonal: Frankfurt (resumes 4 October 2022)[32]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta (begins 17 December 2022)[33]
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich
Emirates Dubai–International[34]
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa
FlyNamibia Windhoek–Hosea Kutako[35][36]
FlySafair Bloemfontein,[37] Durban, East London, Johannesburg–Lanseria, Johannesburg–O. R. Tambo, Port Elizabeth
Kenya Airways Livingstone, Nairobi–Jomo Kenyattaa, Victoria Falls
KLM Amsterdam
LIFT Airline Johannesburg–O. R. Tambo
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Seasonal: Munich[38]
Qatar Airways Doha
RwandAir Harare, Kigalib
Singapore Airlines Singaporec[39][40]
South African Airways Johannesburg–O. R. Tambo[41]
TAAG Angola Airlines Luanda
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
United Airlines Newark,[42] Washington–Dulles (begins 17 November 2022)[43][44]
Virgin Atlantic Seasonal: London–Heathrow (resumes 5 November 2022)[45][46][47]
  • ^a Kenya Airways flights to Nairobi operate via Victoria Falls and Livingstone.
  • ^b Flights to and from Kigali have a stopover in Harare. The airline has full traffic rights to transport passengers between Harare and Cape Town.
  • ^c This flight operates via Johannesburg. However, this carrier does not have rights to transport passengers solely between Cape Town and Johannesburg.


BidAir Cargo[48] Johannesburg–Lanseria, Johannesburg–O. R. Tambo, Port Elizabeth


Products Exported from Cape Town International Airport. R 8.34 billion worth of goods were exported through the airport in 2020.

Passenger traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at CPT airport. See source Wikidata query.
Annual passenger traffic for Cape Town International Airport[49][50]
Fiscal year International Regional Domestic Unscheduled Total
Passenger movements % Change Passenger movements % Change Passenger movements % Change Passenger movements % Change Passenger movements % Change
2004–05 1,176,958 no data 126,837 no data 4,895,048 no data 16,060 no data 6,214,903 no data
2005–06 1,167,661 Decrease0.8% 149,489 Increase17.9% 5,503,690 Increase12.4% 13,333 Decrease17.0% 6,834,173 Increase10.0%
2006–07 1,246,016 Increase6.7% 147,885 Decrease1.1% 6,107,405 Increase11.0% 17,237 Increase29.3% 7,518,543 Increase10.0%
2007–08 1,309,822 Increase5.1% 145,858 Decrease1.4% 6,950,061 Increase13.8% 20,877 Increase21.1% 8,426,618 Increase12.1%
2008–09 1,378,160 Increase5.2% 138,000 Decrease5.4% 6,283,132 Decrease9.6% 13,878 Decrease33.5% 7,813,170 Decrease7.3%
2009–10 1,284,990 Decrease6.8% 122,584 Decrease11.2% 6,391,079 Increase1.7% 11,416 Decrease17.7% 7,810,069 Decrease0.0%
2010–11 1,261,024 Decrease1.9% 122,609 Increase0.0% 6,781,143 Increase6.1% 35,771 Increase213% 8,200,547 Increase5.0%
2011–12 1,400,487 Increase11.1% 133,280 Increase8.7% 7,028,669 Increase3.7% 13,902 Decrease157% 8,576,338 Increase4.6%
2012–13 1,325,481 Decrease5.4% 144,148 Increase8.2% 6,951,577 Decrease1.1% 13,593 Decrease2.2% 8,434,799 Decrease1.7%
2013–14 1,355,524 Increase2.3% 143,356 Decrease0.7% 6,879,919 Decrease1.0% 14,190 Increase4.4% 8,392,989 Decrease0.5%
2014–15 1,452,360 Increase7.1% 150,602 Increase5.1% 7,142,907 Increase3.9% 10,003 Decrease41.9% 8,755,872 Increase4.3%
2015–16 1,564,464 Increase7.7% 179,775 Increase19.4% 7,902,362 Increase10.6% 12,988 Increase29.8% 9,659,589 Increase10.3%
2016–17 1,934,641 Increase23.7% 197,437 Increase9.8% 8,067,516 Increase2.1% 11,796 Decrease9.2% 10,211,390 Increase5.7%
2017–18 2,243,367 Increase16% 208,903 Increase5.8% 8,286,618 Increase2.7% 13,358 Increase13.2% 10,752,246 Increase5.3%
2018–19 2,406,594 Increase7.3% 195,617 Decrease6.4% 8,209,610 Decrease0.1% 11,916 Decrease10.8% 10,823,737 Increase0.1%
2019–20 2,356,225 Decrease2.1% 183,999 Decrease5.9% 8,137,246 Decrease0.9% 11,328 Decrease4.9% 10,688,798 Decrease1.2%
2020–21 156,433 [a] Decrease93.4% 15,484 Decrease91.6% 2,181,670 Decrease73.2% 32,534 Increase187.2% 2,386,121 Decrease77.7%

Aircraft movements[edit]

Annual aircraft movements for Cape Town International Airport[51]
Fiscal year International Regional Domestic Unscheduled Total
Aircraft movements % Change Aircraft movements % Change Aircraft movements % Change Aircraft movements % Change Aircraft movements % Change
2004–05 4,355 no data 4,242 no data 56,810 no data 27,154 no data 92,561 no data
2005–06 4,296 Decrease1.4% 4,169 Decrease1.7% 58,099 Increase2.3% 22,326 Decrease17.8% 88,890 Decrease4.0%
2006–07 4,623 Increase7.6% 3,698 Decrease11.3% 60,470 Increase4.1% 22,602 Increase1.2% 91,393 Increase2.8%
2007–08 5,019 Increase8.6% 3,420 Decrease7.5% 69,819 Increase15.5% 24,027 Increase6.3% 102,285 Increase11.9%
2008–09 5,638 Increase12.3% 3,340 Decrease2.3% 65,623 Decrease6.0% 21,042 Decrease12.4% 95,643 Decrease6.5%
2009–10 4,884 Decrease13.4% 3,296 Decrease1.3% 65,020 Decrease0.9% 19,379 Decrease7.9% 92,579 Decrease3.2%
2010–11 4,868 Decrease0.3% 3,137 Decrease4.8% 66,587 Increase2.4% 19,031 Decrease1.8% 93,623 Increase1.1%
2012–13 4,906 Increase0.8% 3,557 Increase4.8% 62,065 Decrease6.7% 18,545 Decrease1.8% 89,073 Decrease4.9%
2013–14 4,961 Increase1.1% 2,855 Decrease4.8% 60,665 Decrease2.3% 20,092 Increase1.8% 88,573 Decrease0.6%
2014–15 5,091 Increase2.6% 3,135 Increase4.8% 64,269 Increase5.9% 18,651 Decrease1.8% 91,146 Increase2.9%
2015–16 5,568 Increase9.4% 4,783 Increase4.8% 70,731 Increase10% 19,139 Increase1.8% 100,221 Increase10%
2016–17 7,121 Increase27.9% 5,048 Increase4.8% 71,081 Increase0.5% 16,087 Decrease1.8% 99,337 Decrease0.9%
2017–18 9,206 Increase29.3% 5,048 Increase4.8% 72,110 Increase1.4% 16,252 Increase1.8% 103,001 Increase3.7%
2018–19 10,490 Increase13.9% 4,950 Decrease1.9% 67,328 Decrease6.6% 15,898 Decrease2.2% 98,666 Decrease4.2%

Ground transport[edit]


Cape Town International Airport is approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) 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 spaces in the general parking area, and 1,748 parking bays in the multi-storey car park located near the domestic terminal.[52] A new car park opened in 2010, which is located near the international terminal and provides an additional 4,000 parking spaces.[53] The airport also offers a valet parking service.[52]

Public transport[edit]

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 twenty minutes from 04:20-22:00.[54] Transport to and from the airport is also provided by metered taxis and various private shuttle companies.[5]

Rail link[edit]

There is no direct rail access to Cape Town International Airport. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has proposed a 4 km (2.5 mi) rail link between the airport and Cape Town's existing suburban rail network.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reductions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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  14. ^ "Government Gazette online (search)". Green Gazette. 13 February 2019. Archived from the original on 14 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  15. ^ Solwandle, Nomawethu (18 September 2018). "Khoisan groups want Cape Town Airport named after Krotoa". SABC News. Archived from the original on 14 December 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  16. ^ "ANC shoots down EFF plan to rename Cape Town airport after Mama Winnie". Archived from the original on 6 March 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  17. ^ Villette, Francesca (26 February 2021). "Cape Town airport name change ditched". Archived from the original on 26 February 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  18. ^ a b c Nicholson, Zara (8 November 2009). "New terminal hailed as a success". Sunday Argus. IOL. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  19. ^ a b c d e f "ACSA – New Developments". Airports Company South Africa. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  20. ^ "Covid grounds R7bn Cape Town airport expansion". Independent Online. 10 February 2022. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
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  26. ^ "Airlink to connect Cape Town and Maputo with direct flights | Flyairlink".
  27. ^ "Airlink jumps in with new West Coast route while Air Namibia heads for liquidation".
  28. ^ "New flights open up Napoleon's hidden Atlantic island to international visitors". 31 October 2019.
  29. ^ "Flights from Cape Town to Vienna: CPT to VIE Flights + Flight Schedule".
  30. ^[bare URL]
  31. ^ "Fly CemAir".
  32. ^ Casey, David. "Condor Adds New South Africa Route". Routesonline. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  33. ^ "Delta bolsters direct offerings to international mainstays Cape Town, Tel Aviv and Tahiti".
  34. ^ "Emirates resumes flights to South Africa, Mauritius and Zimbabwe". 24 September 2020.
  35. ^[user-generated source]
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 November 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ "New SA route alert: FlySafair launches flights between Bloemfontein and Cape Town".
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  39. ^ Philipot, Lorne (12 May 2021). "Cape Town back on Singapore Airlines' route network". The South African. Blue Sky Publications.
  40. ^ Jim Liu. "Singapore Airlines NW22 Passenger Operations as of 25 July 2022". Aeroroutes.
  41. ^ "SAA takes off on September 23 with these routes".
  42. ^
  43. ^ "United to Become First Airline to Fly Nonstop Between Washington D.C. and Cape Town" (Press release). Chicago: United Airlines. 28 July 2022.
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  45. ^ "KLM Reels Back South Africa Flights as Virgin Eyes Resumption". 14 December 2020.
  46. ^ "Virgin Atlantic outlines winter sun schedule".
  47. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Resumes Daily Flights to Cape Town". 23 May 2022.
  48. ^ - Network retrieved 13 January 2021
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  50. ^ "Passenger Statistics, December 2021" (PDF). Airports Company South Africa.
  51. ^ "ACSA – Cape Town Aircraft Statistics". Airports Company South Africa. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  52. ^ a b "ACSA – Cape Town – Maps and parking". Airports Company South Africa. Archived from the original on 13 November 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  53. ^ "More parking comes online at Cape Town International Airport". Airports Company South Africa. 10 December 2009. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  54. ^ "Last 'Free Friday' for MyCiti inner city loop…for a while". City of Cape Town. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  55. ^ "World Airport Awards 2009 – Regional Results". Skytrax. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  56. ^ "ASQ Award for Best Airport in Africa" Archived 11 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Airports Council International. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012
  57. ^ a b "Best Airport Staff in Africa". Archived from the original on 26 April 2015.
  58. ^ a b c d e f "Cape Town International Airport wins best in Africa – again!". Western Cape Government.
  59. ^ "CT HAS AFRICA'S BEST AIRPORT FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR". Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Cape Town International Airport at Wikimedia Commons