OR Tambo International Airport’s status as the gateway to Africa hangs in the balance as other hubs like Addis Ababa and Nairobi invest in their airport hub status.
Locally, Cape Town International Airport has been giving ORTIA a run for its money, despite its geographic location and current drought situation. The airport was not only named the best airport in Africa by Skytrax recently, it also saw international air traffic increase by 27% over the past year.
Several international connections to Cape Town have also been announced as part of the city’s Air Access Partnership initiative. These include Victoria Falls, Hong Kong and Nairobi, while several airlines have decided to increase their existing frequencies, like Lufthansa. This increase in airlines bypassing Joburg and flying directly to Cape Town has even led SAA to review its Johannesburg hub model, with CEO Vuyani Jarana saying Cape Town could no longer be ignored.
Despite the increased competition in the African airport landscape, at Corporate Traveller we have found that ORTIA is unlikely to lose its appeal. As the current largest airport hub in South Africa, handling over 20 million passengers, the airport recently introduced initiatives to improve the traveller experience such as mobile apps to accompany passengers through their airport journey and enhanced self-service check-in facilities in line with IATA’s Fast Travel Concept.
It was also the first airport in Africa to implement the Smart Security checkpoint. And following the few incidents around Johannesburg, security measures have tightened giving passengers peace of mind and improved safety.
As long as ORT maintains its focus on enhancing the experience of the traveller and tightening of security, we believe Johannesburg won’t lose it’s appeal as the hub of Africa.
ORTIA’s hub status will likely be enhanced in the coming years thanks to an ambitious R8.1bn aerotropolis master plan. A first in Africa, the aerotropolis planned around ORTIA is expected to create economic hubs for many different industries from manufacturing to hi-tech and natural resources. The project is expected to reposition and enhance the value proposition of the entire region.
For advice on which airport hub will offer you the best connecting flights to your destination or the best traveller experience, call your Corporate Traveller expert today!