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New terminal for international arrivals opened at O.R. Tambo International Airport
Thursday, May 07, 2009 | 00:00

The latest and final major terminal upgrade development has been opened to the travelling public by Airports Company South Africa Limited (ACSA).

International arriving passengers are now being processed in a single new terminal that consolidates the old Terminals A1 and A2. Prior to the consolidation passengers arriving on international flights would be processed through either of these two terminals (A1 or A2). This required those waiting to collect passengers to first establish the correct arrivals terminal. ACSA’s consolidation of the two terminals therefore makes it easier for those collecting passengers from the airport by creating one collection point for international passengers.

For passengers the arrival process has been simplified with the new terminal featuring a single entry point from the airside into the main terminal building, as opposed to the previous multi entry points. Once inside the terminal building passengers no longer have to determine through which terminal (old A1 or A2) to enter the Immigration halls as there now is only a single hall.

The six new baggage carousels (four of which can handle baggage from wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus 380) provide space for passengers to collect their luggage from the baggage carousels. These new baggage carousels and the new baggage system installed in the basement of the new terminal building more than doubles the capacity of bags that can be processed at the airport to 8,000 bags per hour at peak operation. In November 2009, when an additional four baggage carousels will become operational, the number of baggage carousels in the new arrivals terminal will total ten.

The consolidation of all international arriving traffic into this single new terminal will make life far easier for international arriving passengers. Passengers will also be aided in their way finding by ACSA’s world-class signage system and directional architectural features such as floor inlays and light features that give visual cues to location within the terminal building.

Once passengers have their bags and have moved through the new Customs facility which opened in September 2008, they exit into the awe inspiring Central Atrium. In the Central Atrium they will see the massive pillars reaching up to the ceiling that were designed to allow the South African sunshine to light the terminal through the skylights around the atrium. The pillars represent the majestic baobab trees found in our country and can be seen throughout the upgraded terminal, holding up the ceilings.

Many of the finishes in the new airport spaces, like the pillars, are representative of design features found in many South African artefacts. The wooden inlays in some of the structures were inspired by the patterns found on African basket ware. The multi-coloured patterns in the carpets of the International Pier departure lounges allude to Ndebele paintings. The granite tile pattern on the floor of the Central Atrium copies the stripes and beading of the traditional Xhosa skirt.

The completion of the new terminal ahead of schedule means infrastructure for both the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup are in place. While the new infrastructure was planned even prior to the announcement of the 2010 tournament, the completion date was planned for after the games had taken place. The airport planning and projects teams have been able to fast-track the various projects to ensure that the South African public are able to host a world class tournament with a world class African hub airport as the welcome mat into the country.

For enquiries and access to hi-res images contact: Nothemba Noruwana
Communications Manager O.R. Tambo International Airport
Airports Company South Africa
Tel: 011 921 6911/ 079 882 7307
E-mail: nothemba.noruwana@airports.co.za

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