Port Elizabeth Airport

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Port Elizabeth International Airport
Impala Mk1-PE Airport.jpg
An Impala Mk1 on permanent display as a gate guardian at the entrance to Port Elizabeth Airport
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Airports Company South Africa
Serves Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Elevation AMSL 226 ft / 67 m
Coordinates 33°59′05″S 025°36′37″E / 33.98472°S 25.61028°E / -33.98472; 25.61028Coordinates: 33°59′05″S 025°36′37″E / 33.98472°S 25.61028°E / -33.98472; 25.61028
Website www.acsa.co.za/...
FAPE is located in Eastern Cape
Location of airport in Eastern Cape province
Direction Length Surface
m ft
08/26 1,980 6,496 Asphalt
17/35 1,677 5,502 Asphalt
Sources: South African AIP,[1] ACSA[2]
Aerial view of Port Elizabeth Airport

Port Elizabeth International Airport[1][2] (IATA: PLZ[3]ICAO: FAPE) is an airport serving Port Elizabeth, a city in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa. It was formerly known as H. F. Verwoerd Airport. The airport is owned and operated by the Airports Company South Africa which also operates nine other airports around South Africa.

The airport is located approximately two miles south of the city's central business district. This has earned it the name "Ten minute airport" because it is said to be less than ten minutes' drive from most major areas of the city.

In 2013, the airport served 1,269,634 passengers.


A number of hotels are present on or near the airport. Ground transportation is provided by local taxis. The airport also has a selection of parking areas and several car rental offices, Such as Eurocar, Bidvest and a few more


A highlight in Port Elizabeth's history was the first flight to Port Elizabeth from Cape Town in 1917, made by Major Allister Mackintosh Miller. At that time, this was considered a long distance flight, and it heralded the start of the civil aviation industry in Port Elizabeth. This flight and many more has been captured on canvas by Ron Belling and is on display at the Ron Belling Art Gallery.

Port Elizabeth Airport was established in 1929 in close proximity to the city. It was initially founded by Lieutenant Colonel Miller, who needed an airfield to operate his postal service between the city and Cape Town. It was only officially opened some nine years later, in 1936, boasting a single runway, one hangar and a concrete apron. However, the foundations of this infrastructure will be removed to make room for additional vehicle parking.

During World War II, the airfield was extended to accommodate 42 Air School for the Royal Air Force and 6 Squadron South African Air Force on the southern and eastern sides of the field. Commercial operations were conducted from the northern side. In 1954, it saw the landing of the first jet-propelled aircraft - five De Havilland Vampire FB9s.

Construction of the permanent terminal buildings, runways and an air traffic control building began in 1950. The commercial operation was moved to an airfield at St Albans, some 25km from the city centre, for the construction period. The new buildings were officially opened in 1955. In 1973 the apron was extended to accommodate larger aircraft and a new departures terminal was opened in 1980. The facilities served the airport community until 2000 when plans for a major terminal upgrade were drawn.

These facilities served the community till 2000 when plans for a major terminal upgrade was drawn-up. The separate arrivals and departures buildings were consolidated into a single facility with a central retail area linking the departures with arrivals creating a light friendly atmosphere. This facility caters for domestic flights but can be screened off to operate a fully compliant International arrivals and departures section.


The airport resides at an elevation of 226 feet (69 m) above mean sea level.[1] It has two asphalt paved runways: 08/26 is 1,980 by 46 metres (6,496 ft × 151 ft) and 17/35 is 1,677 by 46 metres (5,502 ft × 151 ft).[1] There are also 13 aircraft parking bays on the apron and the terminal building measures 8,700 square metres (94,000 sq ft). The modern terminal upgrade was completed in June 2004 allowing the airport to handle up to 2 million passengers a year.

Port Elizabeth Airport, Terminal Building


In preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup runway 08/26 was going to be extended from 1,980m to 3,000m with a view to accommodating International flights, although this never happened. Airports Company of South Africa say that they are planning of building a new airport within ten years as there are more and more people arriving and departing the airport and there is no more space to grow the airport

South African Air Force facilities[edit]

Air Force Station Port Elizabeth is home to C Flight of 15 Squadron of the South African Air Force. It is a helicopter unit primarily tasked with maritime and landward search and rescue.

There is also a branch of the South African Air Force Museum at the airport. There are many histirical airplanes at SA air force museum


Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Airlink East London
British Airways operated by Comair Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg-OR Tambo
FlySafair Cape Town, Johannesburg-OR Tambo[4]
Mango Cape Town, Johannesburg-OR Tambo
South African Airways Johannesburg-OR Tambo
South African Express Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg-OR Tambo

Traffic statistics[edit]

Annual passenger traffic [5]
Year Passengers  % Change
2006 1,409,607 Increase11.2%
2007 1,491,551 Increase5.8%
2008 1,465,429 Decrease1.8%
2009 1,342,859 Decrease8.4%
2010 1,408,374 Increase4.9%
2011 1,368,334 Decrease2.8%
2012 1,317,695 Decrease3.7%
2013 1,269,634 Decrease3.6%

Special aircraft[edit]

August 1998 - A South African Airways Boeing 747-400 landed at Port Elizabeth Airport to be officially named 'Ibayhi' the Xhosa word for Port Elizabeth. The aircraft landed with crew and a number of passengers on board and carrying minimal fuel so as to make a safe landing on the 1980m runway.

17 May 2004 - John Travolta landed his personal Qantas Boeing 707 at the airport directly from Mauritius as he was visiting a nearby private game reserve.

1 February 2008 - King Abdullah II of Jordan's Airbus A340-200 landed at Port Elizabeth as he makes his way down the Garden Route to Cape Town on a Harley-Davidson motorbike.

June, 2010 - South African Airways operated an Airbus A340-200 to Port Elizabeth to help manage the extra volume of people during the FIFA World Cup 2010.

27 October 2013 - South African Airways operated an Airbus A330-200 REG: ZS-SXU to Port Elizabeth from Johannesburg. SA419 & SA422

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "FAPE – PORT ELIZABETH INTL" (PDF). South African Civil Aviation Authority. Effective 20 December 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Port Elizabeth International Airport". Airports Company South Africa. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "IATA Airport Code Search (PLZ: Port Elizabeth)". International Air Transport Association. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  4. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2014/11/07/fa-dec14/
  5. ^ "ACSA Passenger Statistics". Airports Company South Africa. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 

External links[edit]