Talk:O. R. Tambo International Airport

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Page title[edit]

The page title should read "O.R. Tambo International Airport" instead of "OR Tambo International Airport". See the official airport page: (talk) 11:40, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. The official airport page, airport logo, etc. all point out to O. R. Tambo being a proper name. Also normal naming conventions suggest "OR Tambo" being a very unusual variant – which also, in this case, has no support in the official sources and so seems to be a wanton creation. I'll go ahead and rename it unless there is a consensus to the contrary. cherkash (talk) 06:04, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
This is now done: I've re-styled the article, and have moved the page. Please discuss here first before making further changes or reverts. cherkash (talk) 02:56, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

New Terminal Names[edit]

Please update the terminal names and airline status at the terminals as the new central terminal has been completed and airllines have moved in already.


Thank you

Sayanvala (talk) 18:33, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

High and dry???[edit]

This makes no sense:

Johannesburg International Airport is regarded as a "hot and high" or a "high and dry" airport. Situated some 1500 metres above sea level, the air is dry and thin, especially in winter. Even in summer, when it rains, the air is still relatively dry and hot.

High and hot are certainly bad for aircraft performance, but this implies that humid air is better than dry air, when exactly the opposite is true. Dry air is denser than humid air. Hot air is always worse than cold air, so the "even in summer" bit makes even less sense. The worst conditions are "high, hot, and humid". RoySmith 14:25, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

  • I fixed up the hot and dry wording, but the whole discussion about why you can make the trip in one direction but not the other without a fuel stop is full of holes. There are many reasons why an airplane's useful range in one direction may be greater than the other. First, JFK (where I assume these flights land), has one of the longest runways in the world (a bit over 4400 m) -- that lets you take off with a heavier fuel load, even without any density altitude considerations. Next, you have to look at prevailing winds over the entire route. Finally, JFK->JNB has you close to or over land for most of the 2nd half of the flight -- this is important for picking dispatch alternates, which in turn affects legally allowable flight lengths. In the JNB->JFK direction, the 2nd half of the flight is entirely over open ocean. The high density altitude at JNB is only one of many factors involved. --RoySmith 18:14, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the update, but you are a bit of a mild nitwit. If you don't even know where the flights land in New York, how on earth would you know what the conditions are for flights JNB/JFK? Secondly, how on earth can humid air be less dense than dry air? It's like a car - it performs better at sea level than at altitude. Flights are able to take off with enough fuel from Jo'burg to New York (we're not that backward, you bigoted Western capitalist pig), but engine performance is reduced at altitude and they burn more fuel on take-off because the air is thin (duh). Thirdly, the bollocks about flying over Africa (JFK/JNB) as opposed to the Atlantic (JNB/JFK) only applies to ETOPS flights, and all the aircraft that fly the route have four engines (A340, B747). Also, since they refuel at Lagos/Dakar/Accra/Sal Island on the way to New York/Washington/Atlanta, they're more likely to drop out of the sky over Africa than in the Atlantic (since on the return leg they don't refuel - duh). The info was given to me by my uncle, who works for SAA Technical, and my cousin, who flies the A340 to New York. Who are your sources, Mr Weekend Wannabe? So there - put that in your "full-of-holes" pipe and smoke it.
I'll address the, "how on earth can humid air be less dense than dry air?" question. The answer is that a molecule of water (H20, molecular weight of 18) weighs less than a molecule of either of the two main constituents of air, Nitrogen (N2, molecular weight 28) and Oxygen (O2, molecular weight 32), but takes up the same volume. As for sources, [1] has a good explanation, but any introductory aviation or meteorology text should cover this. As for my credentials, I'm a commercial pilot and flight instructor -- RoySmith (talk) 17:11, 31 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Roy, Roy, Wally Boy (add that one to your list)... So, you're a pilot? DC3s and puddle jumpers don't count. Do the nitrogen and oxygen just disappear at sea level, and is the air down there just made up of water? You can quote as many sources as you like, unless you can explain to me why the bottle of water that I drank in Jo'burg flattens like a pancake by the time I get to Durban, then I simply don't believe you. I notice you gave the whole ETOPS thing a big skip... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:06, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Oh Ro-oy!!!! Still waiting for my response, honey... after 3 years... tsk, tsk... You see, we can all quote cool sources that prove our point - so here's one of mine: [2]. You see? Air DOES get thinner as we go higher (and I prefer his source to yours). That's why people who go up Everest DIE without air, because there's LESS of it at 10,000m. What a disappointment you turned out to be (Rob, let it go... it's been 3 years... move on... yes, Conscience, I'll do that now... just wanted to score one last point for the Southern Hemisphere). I missed therapy this week, and I can't find the Lithium tabs.
  • Hello all. I am a user of wikipedia but prefer to edit from IP's to avoid blocking in case of controversy. I made some edits today. The previous version stated that there were 2 runways, roughly 3500m in length. This isn't true at all. Accrding to the ACSA website (and I confirmed the data using Google Earth), the runways are 4400 and 3300m respectively. The longest of the two deserves special mention as it is indeed one of the world's longest international airport runways. This too is entirely verifiable and can be done over the internet. Hope I don't earn yet another "original research" gripe. I am also responsible for adding the Airport Frame, whcih was (appalingly) missing. Measurements, co-ordinates and altitude are all precise and courtesy of Google Earth. As I understand the altitude inaccuracy sampled in some applications of Google Earth, I took the time to confirm the altitude on the ACSA website.
  • "Hot and high" is the correct aviation terminology. Please see the page with that name for a detailed explanation. Humidity is not usually a great factor in takeoff performance. Humidity plays a role in fog or icing conditions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:22, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Future name change[edit]

The ANC-dominated Ekurhuleni metropolitan council has passed a resolution to rename Johannesburg International Airport the O R Tambo International Airport. [3]

It has not happend yet, so I am just putting it here. Gary van der Merwe 12:12, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Yep, for some blogosphere reaction, see, Fodder and Mzansi Afrika. Seems like a pretty diverse range of opinions so far. Impi 15:32, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Saying renaming Joburg airport Oliver Tambo can be 'offensive' is quite odd! I'm not sure anyone would find it offensive; maybe a waste of money, or an inconvenience, but he's a pretty well respected figure, no? Joziboy 2 March 2006, 11:58 UTC

There are those who feel that his contribution to freedom in South Africa was exaggerated due to his role within the ANC, and that others who contributed as much if not more were sidelined and ignored. There's also the issue that Tambo never renounced violence against civilians as something the ANC was willing to do, which a fair number of people still resent. He's not as respected as Nelson Mandela, in other words. — Impi 21:49, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Ah okay. I had no idea about the violence against civilians thing. People like Mandela only come about once in a hundred years, but we already have a million things named after him (the whole PE metro is named after him). I reckon we need to branch out. There's Beyers Naude drive etc, I don't think white freedom fighters have been forgotten? Joziboy 3 March 2006, 12:45 (UTC)

Well, I've yet to see a street named after Helen Suzman... Hardly surprising, since she's gone from being a huge opponent of Apartheid to opposing the ANC's excesses, and she never was really friendly with the ANC, despite being wholeheartedly against Apartheid. In other words, you only get to be remembered and memorialised if you supported the right people. There's a lot of patronage involved, unfortunately. That's why I think it's best that we avoid political names altogether, because it always turns into a favouritism situation. Best keep JIA as it is. — Impi 19:47, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. JIA has existed for decades and can be expected to remain for many more decades. It is not entirely unlikely that in this time period the ANC will be voted out of office and the name of Oliver Tambo no longer welcome considered appropriate. 02:55, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Future Name Change: Some Perspective[edit]

I can't believe the ANC wants to rename something after Tambo AGAIN! This is what they have named after him:

On the East Rand (Ekurhuleni) there is the Oliver Tambo Cultural Village, Tamboville.

And the Oliver Tambo Memorial Hospital

And Oliver Tambo Drive in Mokopane (Potgietersrus)

And Oliver Tambo Drive in Modimolle (Nylstroom)

And Oliver Tambo Avenue, Manemberg, Cape Town

And Oliver Tambo Drive in Joe Slovo (yes, he has his own suburb), Cape Town

And Oliver Tambo Drive in Pellsrus, Jefferys Bay

And Oliver Tambo Drive in Rustenburg

And Oliver Tambo Drive in Weltevreden

And Oliver Tambo Drive in The Leauges, Cape Town

And Oliver Tambo Street, Hospital View, Johannesburg

And Oliver Tambo Street, Kagiso Ext2, Jhb

And Oliver Tambo Street, Kwanomzamo, Humansdorp

And Oliver Tambo Street, Parkridge, East London

And Oliver Tambo Street, Tsakane, Jhb

And Oliver Tambo Drive in Seshego, Polokwane

And Oliver Tambo Street, Mohlakeng, West Rand

And the Oliver Tambo District (where you can find the easy-to-remember King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality) in the Eastern Cape

(I've used my GPS software to find this, and since its outdated (refers to Plokwane as Pietersburg) I suspect many more "Oliver Tambo" roads)- and I would just like to say there are more streets named after Tambo, than Nelson Mandela!

THIS IS CRAZY! They won't stop until we are living in the Republic of Oliver Tambo

...I think the best policy the Government should take, is NOT to repeat the errors of the past and NOT to give places / streets / buildings people's names. Like the King Senzangakhona Stadium in Durban. The poor tourists and int' media that'll have to pronounce, remember and spell THAT name.

- and this is why Jhb International is the PERFECT name - no history - no politics - no bad feelings. We have enough Tambo-named things already!

Don't feel too bad. I can send you info about people dedicated to naming something in every one of the 3,300 counties in the United States after Ronald Reagan. You know, in case anyone ever forgets he was president. — OtherDave 19:34, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't see how your objections to naming things after Tambo are relevant to the content of this Wikipedia entry. I'm also curious why I don't see your objections to the number of things in the country named Botha, Smuts, Malan, and so on...nor to the number of locations in the US named after Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, etc. People name locations after political leaders. Why does this one ruffle your feathers?Mgllama (talk) 11:04, 28 June 2008 (UTC)


Airports don't need separate articles for the list of airlines that fly to them. This should be merged into the Airlines section of the main article. Dbinder 13:24, 23 January 2006 (UTC)


I live very near to JIA, in fact I live in Bonaero Park Ext 3 which is rumored to be one of the areas that will be demolished to allow for the expansion of the airport!!

I, and many other residents really need to know what is going to happen ??? We are going on information that I think was leaked and we don't know whether to seriously start worrying or not.....

Are we going to have a home in the near future, how do we afford a new home, when and how much will ACSA pay us out for our properties ???


If there is anyone out there who can help or give us some anwers ,it would be great!!! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 12:57, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, alas, the beloved OR Tambo is scheduled for a major expansion, including 2 new runways. If you stay near the lake, then your house is history... Check out the Beeld for articles - do a Google search or Hold out for the most money dude!!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:30, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


My dog just jumped on the keyboard and messed up my edits of JIA. Don't know how to change them back. I promise I wasn't trying to vandalise pages! Thanks. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:29, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Done, just glad he was not able to eat it ;-) Gary van der Merwe 16:23, 11 September 2006 (UTC)


Jan Smuts a Statesman[edit]

I don't think one should call Jan Smuts a "statesman" as this title is usually reserved (at least among Americans & Canadians who are majority wiki readers) to those politicians and civil servants whose actions have a positive lasting action. Smuts was racist and Facist therefore, could not be considered "statesman" so I changed it to the neutral "politician" which could be seen as bad, neutral, or good depending upon one's perspective.

I have a personal issue with the airport being named after Tambo, because of negative associations on the other end of the political spectrum, but the ANC and the Native South African majority seem to like him in spite of his actions against mostly caucasian civilians who didn't even necessarily agree with the government's racialist system.

Mrs. Valerie Feria-Isacks SA by marriage Anthropologist in-training

Actually, 'statesman' as a title refers to a respected national or international leader, not necessarily one whose actions had a positive lasting effect. Your term is more of an assumption than an actual definition. Nevertheless, even when using your own definition, it's blatantly clear that Smuts still qualifies for the title of 'statesman', to such an extent that I must question how much you actually know of Smuts's history.
Quite simply, no other South African, before or since, has had the same profound effect on international affairs as Smuts, not even Nelson Mandela. In his time he was instrumental in altering the landscape of international relations forever, creating structures that still dominate our headlines today. By any measure, not only was he an international statesman, but he was a great international statesman, widely respected and trusted. So much so, in fact, that sometime during the Second World War it was seriously proposed that he be appointed as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom should Winston Churchill die or be otherwise incapacitated. 1
The first of the major achievements which was to bring him fame and respect was his role in establishing the status of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as dominions equal to Great Britain allied under the British Commonwealth of Nations, a term he invented. This was a fundamental stage in the history of all those countries, leading directly to their full independence in later years, and the organisation he proposed lives on in the form of the modern Commonwealth which now boasts over 50 members.
The second such achievement was the creation of the League of Nations, an organisation Smuts had first proposed creating in 1918 in his essay, League of Nations: a Practical Suggestion. His ideas were picked up by Woodrow Wilson, the American president, who found that Smuts's suggestions tallied with his own "Fourteen Points", and the two began a collaboration that would meld their separate ideas together into a workable Covenant for the League of Nations. From Smuts came the ideas of sanctions, mandates, international bureaus and the League assembly, all intended to enhance international co-operation and prevent war.2 These ideas were carried over to the United Nations, with the result that even today sanctions, international bureaus such as the World Health Organisation and the United Nations' two assemblies are amongst the main components of international relations. If that is not a 'positive lasting effect', I'd struggle to find one.
And yet Smuts had a role in the formation of the United Nations as well. Not only did he constantly pressure delegates at the San Francisco conference to provide the new organisation with the power the League was always denied, but he was the primary author of the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations, a document which has been recognised as one of humanity's most important. Again, how can this not represent a 'positive lasting effect'?
I will not deny that Smuts was flawed, deeply so, as most of us are. In his case, it was his attitude and policy towards black South Africans which has tainted his reputation, as he supported and continued segregationist legislation during his time in office. Yet it would be unfair to judge him by modern standards on race, as his views generally mirrored those of his contemporaries. It's also worth noting that his views on blacks were relatively benign and akin to those of the missionaries, who viewed them as backwards people needing special treatment to bring them to the standard of Europeans, as opposed to the views of the Nationalists who viewed blacks as cheap labour to be forever suppressed and exploited. We can look back today and laugh at the absurdity of both those views, but we should not forget that they were considered respectable (and, sadly, reasonable) at the time. Yet in later life, Smuts showed a foresight that preceded most of his countrymen, both asserting that one day blacks and whites could live as equals in South Africa and establishing the Fagan Commission to investigate the relaxation of urban influx and residence controls for black South Africans in what was widely seen as a precursor to wider changes. Unfortunately, it was the liberalism of the Commission's report which led to Smuts's defeat (though by a minority of white voters) in the 1948 general election, which ushered in the National Party under Malan and thus Apartheid, so we'll never know how far Smuts would've gone in desegregating South Africa.
But as for the charge that Smuts was a Fascist, it is nothing less than utter nonsense. Smuts was fervently opposed to the Fascist movements which swept Europe in the 1930s, resulting in the dictatorships of Mussolini and Hitler, to the extent that he ignored significant opposition at home in order to declare war on the Axis powers and commit South African troops to battle against Nazi Germany and Italy's forces. In South Africa itself he suppressed fascist organisations such as the pro-Nazi Greyshirts and imprisoned many of its leaders. The ideals he encapsulated in the UN Charter's Preamble were completely contradictory to Fascist principles, especially as they emphasised the dignity and worth of the individual rather than that of the state. Objectively, there's absolutely no justification in the claim that Smuts was a Fascist.
In light of the above, I'm going to revert the change from 'politician' back to 'statesman'. I feel the term is more than warranted and that the original change denigrated the contribution this remarkable man made to the world, regardless of his flaws. — Impi 00:45, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

A friendly request to please keep the topic of this talk page on improving the article, and not politics. Gary van der Merwe (Talk) 12:22, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Not to disagree with you - certainly, the talk page should stay on topic - but this discussion was at base a content dispute about the word "politician" vs. "statesman" in the article. Impi's reply was a (long, certainly) argument for why "statesman" is appropriate, so it is about the article in that sense. - htonl 18:19, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
So it is agreed that Jan Smuts was a statesman.Gregorydavid 04:32, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Or a statesperson, perhaps? :-) -- leuce 18:40, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, like Margaret Thatcher was. ;-)) Gregorydavid 07:31, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Question: where are the stats that show the majority of Wiki users are American or Canadian? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:33, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

O.R. Tambo Airport Destinations[edit]

A good article, however the destinations of the respective airlines needs a bit of attention. SAA does not fly to Pietermaritzburg, however SA Airlink does (I see Airlink is listed). Also there is no mention of Upington Airport. I suspect there might be others. Dglschapman (talk) 14:38, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

  • If no-one objects, I can pull the flight schedules for JNB from ACSA and update the list based on that. Ron2K (talk) 14:32, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Charter airlines[edit]

I've just removed a charter airline from the Domestic subsection of the Airlines & Destinations section, my reasons being that the airline in question doesn't operate any scheduled flights. The question is - should we be including charter airlines in this section, and if so, do we shove them with the scheduled services or give them their own subsection? Ron2K (talk) 22:20, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

New Terminal Names[edit]

Please take note of the following

Terminal name change to Terminal A and Terminal B

O.R. Tambo International Airport has made the decision to follow the lead of other international airports and make the terminals multi-use such that terminals can be used to process both international and domestic flights interchangeably. The benefit of making the terminals multi-use will allow the airport to be more efficient in the use of existing infrastructure, thus minimising the dependence on more construction of new buildings to create capacity.

Like other international airports with multi-use terminals, the international and domestic descriptors of the terminals will fall away at O.R. Tambo International Airport. There will still be two terminals, which will in future be known as Terminal A and Terminal B. Terminal A will extend from the Central Terminal Building(CTB) atrium to the north (previously the international terminal) and Terminal B will extend south (previously the domestic terminal).

For the foreseeable future the check-in counters in the existing international departures hall will continue to be used for international flights only, while the multi-use CTB departures facility will be used by both international and domestic airlines allowing those airlines with domestic and international flights to use the same check-in counters.

Airline check-in counter moves At the beginning of April 2009 when the new multi-use departures hall in Terminal B opens in the CTB some airlines serving international routes will move into the new facility. Among them are South African Airways which will process both international and domestic passengers from the new facility. Other airlines that will also be moving to the new facility include:

   * Express and Airlink (which like SAA will process both international and domestic passengers from their counters)
   * UM – Air Zimbabwe
   * MD – Air Madagascar
   * WB – Rwandair Express
   * TC – Air Tanzania
   * QF – Qantas
   * CX – Cathay Pacific
   * MS – Egypt Air
   * MK – Air Mauritius 

Check-in counter renumbering The changes to the terminal naming and the multi-use terminal will necessitate the changing of check-in counter numbers in both departure terminals. They will have an alphanumeric numbering system. A three digit number will be prefaced by A or B depending on which terminal it is located in.

The counters in Terminal A (currently international departures) will be numbered from the south to north and those in Terminal B (currently domestic departures) will be numbered from the CTB to the south. The existing counters in Terminal B will be renumbered in preparation for the opening of the new facility at the beginning of April.

Implications for passengers Passengers and visitors will have to know which terminal their airline of choice is operating from. Passengers should obtain this information at the time of booking their tickets. To assist them the airport will be putting up temporary signs that show which airlines operate out of each departure terminal.

Passengers and visitors are advised that signage in and around the terminal will in the future no longer refer to domestic and international terminal. Signs will refer only to Terminal A or Terminal B. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:32, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

route maps[edit]

I note somebody replaced my maps with their own - no problem, since the new ones look good. If I may raise a suggestion - if a map or graph is worth including, it is worth being readable at first glance. There is no reason why, with careful placement, the long haul, short haul and domestic maps cannot be placed together. I have placed it in a manner which allows prompt reading.

Do we need to specify which airports are served? Why not just "Istanbul" or "London" rather than "Istanbul - Ataturk" or "London - Heathrow"? Yes, it is more accurate, but it makes the map harder to read. Also consider editting out parts of the world where airlinks aren't present - it will give you more space. Kransky (talk) 10:09, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Visible is one thing; taking up most of the screen is quite another. The established guideline is quite clear in that images should be thumb-sized. Besides, all destinations served are already listed in the tables, so adding a map is effectively redundant information (albeit pretty-looking). I honestly see no reason for the image to be sized any larger than the standard thumb. Jasepl (talk) 10:24, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand the colour coding of the long-haul map. Is it supposed to be by continent? But then, why do the African and South American flights have the same colour whereas the flights to the Middle East have a different colour from the flights to the rest of Asia? --SmilingBoy (talk) 11:51, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

The longhaul map appears to be missing the lines connecting JNB and ZRH, and JNB and CDG. Also, TIP is not labelled. --SmilingBoy (talk) 11:51, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

On the domestic map, Maputo should be removed. --SmilingBoy (talk) 11:53, 30 November 2009 (UTC)


Removed text "This is due to the aforementioned rarefied atmosphere problem" from the Runway section as there is no aforementioned rarefied atmosphere problem mentioned anywhere in the article.

Bain (talk) 22:00, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Factual Accuracy: First Comet Flight[edit]

I have done a lot of research into where exactly the first Comet flight landed. The reference given in this article does not mention at which airport it landed. I have researched this extensively and the evidence points to Palmietfontein Airport - not at Jan Smuts Airport, and the reference #2 which I give in the Palmietfontien Airport article clearly states the fact. The text is as follows : "South Africa was the destination of the world’s first passenger jet service when a BOAC Comet 1 landed at Palmietfontein on 3 May 1952, the journey had taken just under 24 hours to complete. ".

Furthermore, the photographs to which the Palmietfontein Airport page links (Under the External links heading) show Comets parked on the apron at Palmietfontein airport. If one enlarges the photos, the signboard "Palmietfontein Airport" is clearly visible. See the photographs in these links : [[4]] and [[5]]. The runway layout seen in the pictures is that of Palmietfontein. Nolween (talk) 16:22, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I have now retrieved an original newspaper article from the Johannesburg library which proves that the Comet landed at Palmietfontein and not at Jan Smuts Airport. I am awaiting confirmation that I can publish a copy in the Commons.Nolween (talk) 12:23, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Newspaper article published in The Star of May 3rd, 1952 regarding the world's first commercial jet flight which took place from London to Palmietfontein Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Nolween (talkcontribs) 19:50, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

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