Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport is a major international airport in South Africa, near the city of Johannesburg and, to a lesser extent, the executive capital Pretoria. It serves as the primary airport for domestic and international travel to/from South Africa and is Africa’s busiest airport with non-stop flights to all continents. The airport is the hub of South Africa’s largest international and domestic carrier, South African Airways (SAA), and a number of smaller local airlines. The airport handled a total of over 20 million passengers in 2016.
It was originally known as Jan Smuts International Airport, after South Africa’s former prime minister of that name. The airport was renamed Johannesburg International Airport in 1994 when the newly reformed South African government implemented a national policy of not naming airports after politicians. The policy was however reversed later, and the airport renamed again in 2006 after Oliver Reginald Tambo, a former President of the African National Congress.
The airport was founded in 1952. It displaced the Palmietfontein International Airport, which had handled European flights since 1945.