Lanseria International Airport
Whether you’re flying into the Magaliesberg Biosphere or driving on the R512, Lanseria International Airport is the first point of interest. Aircraft pass low over the road on their final approach to landing and can be seen parked on the rising ground a kilometre to the east.
“To build the busiest airport in the country” was an idea sparked by two pilots, Fanie Haacke and Abe Sher in the nineteen seventies. In 1972 land was bought by local municipalities together with the Transvaal Peri-Urban Board and contracted to the Lanseria Management Company on a 99-year lease.
The two pilots dream, however, was not shared by local residents who were dismayed at the prospect of a noisy airport on the borders of their peaceful farming properties. They formed a committee and protested vigorously, gaining a good deal of media and public support. But the then Minister of Planning insisted that the country needed a second airport near Johannesburg to ease some of the pressure on Jan Smuts (now OR Tambo) Airport and the objections were simply over-ridden. The plans went ahead and after two years the Lanseria International Airport was opened to privately operated aircraft.
Lanseria was an immediate success. In 1975 it hosted Air Africa International – a major aeronautical event where, for the first time, South African buyers had the chance to see and test the latest aircraft and equipment on home soil. Aerobatic displays from Farnborough and Paris delighted thousands of spectators and similar shows and events were held in the following years. Lanseria also became the base for 4 Impala Squadron and 41 Reconnaissance Squadron of the South African Air Force from 1979 until the base was closed in 1991.
Changes in legislation in 1977 allowed the airport to service commercial and international flights and VIP visitors, including Nelson Mandela in 1990 on his first visit to what became Gauteng after his release from prison.
Growing traffic has seen a succession of upgrades for aircraft handling and passenger facilities. Today more than 2 million passengers arrive and leave from Lanseria International Airport. The 3 km runway can handle the latest generation Boeing 737 and 767 aircraft and is the preferred airport for international private and business charters.
Haacke and Sher’s 1970 vision is indeed being realised.
Article credit: Lanseria International Airport News
Lanseria International Airport Address: Airport Road, Lanseria, 1748
- Contact: 011 367 0300