The History of Lanseria International Airport
In 1972, two Pretoria pilots, Fanie Haacke and Abe Sher, identified the ideal site for an airport. At that moment, Lanseria International Airport was born. In time, the airport would play a vital role in South Africa’s aviation industry.
Considered issues such as the airport's location in relation to residential areas, land suited to long runways with good approaches, identification of smog and fog-free zones and a site in open surrounds in case of forced landings, were instrumental in ensuring Lanseria's enduring success.
The Krugersdorp and Roodepoort Municipalities as well as the Transvaal Peri-Urban Board purchased the land and contracted it to the newly formed Lanseria Management Company on a 99-year lease.
Lanseria International Airport was opened to air traffic by, the then minister of transport, Hannes Rall, on 16 August 1974. On that day, a Learjet ZS-MTD became the first jet to land at Lanseria International Airport.
In 1975 Lanseria International Airport was chosen to host Air Africa International '75 - a major event on the international aerospace calendar and a milestone in South African aviation history. For the first time, South African buyers were afforded the opportunity of being able to select the latest international aircraft and electronic equipment. Air demonstrations that were originally produced for air shows in Farnborough and Paris, now delighted thousands of spectators at Lanseria. The State President’s Air Race would continue to draw the crowds long thereafter.
Lanseria was also home to 4 Impala Squadron and 41 Reconnaissance Squadron of the South African Air Force from May 1979 until the base was closed in 1991. The South African Air Force Museum based its workshop at Lanseria in 1978 and opened it to public acclaim in March 1980 with exhibits of refurbished Tiger Moths, an Argus Fairchild and four Mirage F-1's. In October that year the Museum staged a Vintage Day at Lanseria to commemorate Forty One Squadron, one of South Africa's foremost reconnaissance squadrons.
When former President, Nelson Mandela, was released from prison in May 1990, he was flown to Johannesburg and the first time he set foot on Gauteng soil after such a long time, was when he stepped off his aircraft onto the tarmac at Lanseria.
In 1990, Lanseria's co-owners, the Roodepoort and Krugersdorp Municipalities and the Transvaal Administrator, announced that the airport was to be sold. Tenders for the ownership and management of the airport were issued and the tender was awarded to a consortium of private investors in 1991.
By 1999, the continued growth in the number of operators, passengers and freight volume utilising Lanseria, brought heavy pressures to bear on the existing infrastructure. The 27-year old terminal building was no longer able to meet this demand. An expansion programme was embarked upon and, in 2002, a larger main terminal building was completed along with an upgrade of all runways and taxiways.
South African airports had their international status reviewed in February 2001, as part of the Government's revised infrastructure requirements for international aviation. Nine ACSA operated airports (Airports Company of SA) and the privately owned Lanseria were the only airfields to retain their international status.In May 2010 it once again became necessary to expand the terminal building. The Domestic Departure Lounge area was revamped and enlarged to accommodate the overwhelming demand for scheduled flights to and from Durban and Cape Town. New shops and restaurants were also added along with more parking facilites, all of which have contributed to the success of the airport.
Today Lanseria International Airport is more geared than ever before to meet the high demands of international aviation.