Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Port Elizabeth Airport

The first flight to land in Port Elizabeth, long before the airport was even built, was also the first flight to Port Elizabeth from Cape Town made by Major Allister Mackintosh Miller in 1917.  The Port Elizabeth Airport was established in 1929 and opened in 1936 and was founded by Lieutenant Colonel Miller who needed an airfield to operate his postal service between the city and Cape Town.  During World War II, the airfield was extended to accommodate 42 Air School for the Royal Air Force and 6 Squadron South African Air Force on the southern and eastern sides of the field.  Commercial operations were conducted from the northern side. Construction of the permanent terminal buildings, runways and an air traffic control building began in 1950. The commercial operation was moved to an airfield at St Albans, some 25km from the city centre, for the construction period. The new buildings were officially opened in 1955. In 1973 the apron was extended to accommodate larger aircraft and a new departures terminal was opened in 1980.

The airport has three runways. The main asphalt one 08/26 is 1,980m long, the second asphalt one 17/35,  1,667m long and the third grass one is 1,160m long. There are also 13 aircraft parking bays on the apron and the terminal building measures 8,700 square metres. This facility caters for domestic flights but can be screened off to operate a fully compliant International arrivals and departures section.

Info obtained from Wikipedia


  1. Just to correct wiki, the apron only has 12 parking bays.

  2. Hi the first landing took place on the greens of the PE Golf Club in Mill Park. As the Lt-Col Landed the crowd moved in the plane and to avoid injuring the crowd he crashed the plane into a sand bunker destroying the prop. The remains of that prop sits in the PEGC. A New prop was made and he was able to continue flying.

  3. There is nothing as rewarding as travelling for 24 hours from the USA, finally landing at the PE airport, stepping out of the plane and excitedly feeling that strong sea breeze in your face!

  4. It was formerly known as the H.F. Verwoerd airport,after our seventh Prime Minister. Interestingly, a culture in South African airports, all airports were named after a Prime Minister. Railway stations were named after the town or suburb it served (and not where it was located) and harbours after the bay in which it was situated. It is of course no longer so.