Commercial and private planes can easily be spotted on the runway a few meters away from their open air viewing deck. It all began when In 1974 the dream became a reality and work began to build Johannesburg’s alternative International Airport, with a mere investment of R 2,7 Million. The residents of the Area were not too excited about the prospect of getting a noisy airport on the boarders of their peaceful Farming land! They formed a committee and protested against the development, which regularly made front page news. However, the Minister of Planning, Mr J.J. Loots confirmed the need for a new Airport on 6 June 1972, and said the new facility would rival the only other large Airport at the time, 'Jan Smuts International'. Just two years later, the Airport opened it's doors to privately operated aircraft.
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 success of the first air show spurred on another in 1977. More than R 100 Million rand worth of aircraft and equipment was on display at the Aviation Africa Show in October that year. More International air shows followed in 1979 and 1981 and the exhibitors and crowds grew every Year.
Lanseria was also Home to 4 Impala Squadron and 41 Reconnaissance Squadron of the South African Air Force from May 1979 until their Base was closed in 1991.
In 1977, The Department of Transport published several changes in regulations governing private and charter aircraft. “Lanseria International Airport is to be the new terminal for all flights to and from South Africa by visiting aircraft registered in foreign countries and engaged in carrying passengers or cargo to South Africa for remuneration”, the Gazette stated. The move took much needed pressure off the busy Jan Smuts Airport, so that it could “focus on major passenger flights.”
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.
During 1991 Lanseria International Airport handled more than 108 000 aircraft movements and catered for more than 250 000 passengers. Many private and charter companies operated from Lanseria International Airport, using the Airports 24 Hour, customs service and the many other facilities catering for pilots and passengers from all over the World!
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, this was onto the tarmac, at Lanseria International Airport. The Airport continues to be the first choice to welcome International guests, Presidents and superstars into our Country.
By 1999, the continued growth was evident in the number of airline operators, passengers and freight volume utilizing Lanseria Airport. The 27-year old Terminal Building was no longer able to meet this demand and an expansion programme started. In 2002 a larger Main Terminal Building was completed along with an upgrade of all runways and taxiways. In 2003 about 160 000 passengers passed through it’s Terminal.
In 2004 both runways and taxiways were lengthened and widened to accommodate bigger aircraft like the Boeing 757-300 and Airbus 319 aircraft. Ms Wrenelle Stander, Director-General of Transport opened the airports extensions.
In May 2010 it once again became necessary to expand the Terminal Building. The Domestic Departure Lounge area was revamped 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 facilities, all of which have contributed to the continued success of the Airport!