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Rand Airport 1

Rand Airport (IATA code QRA - ICAO code FAGM)

Rand airport; located in Germiston Gauteng South of Johannesburg was constructed in the 1920s as the main airport for Johannesburg, but the city outgrew it and it was replaced by Palmietfontein Airport in the late 1940s, then later with the larger Jan Smuts International Airport in the 1950s.

The airport was officially opened on 21 December 1931and was owned jointly by the Germiston City Council, the Rand Gold Refinery and Elandsfontein Estates. It became the headquarters of South African Airways (SAA) when the head office was moved from Durban to Rand Airport on 1 July 1935.

During that time SAA operated several Junkers Ju-52 aircraft's, flying 14 passengers including 4 crew members on a thrice-weekly Durban–Johannesburg strech, with weekly services on the Durban–East London–Port Elizabeth–George/Mossel Bay–Cape Town route. Following the war, frequencies were increased and more routes were opened, which necessitated the conversion of three South African Air Force Airspeed Envoys to passenger layout. These aircraft would prove to be unsuitable for passenger and cargo services, so were returned to the SAAF after the arrival of the Junkers Ju 86s. The Douglas DC-4 Skymaster debuted with SAA in May 1946 between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which coincided with the introduction of the Douglas DC-3 Dakota on the Johannesburg–Durban route. SAA moved its headquarters to Palmietfontein Airport in 1948 because of runway length constraints. Nevertheless, Rand Airport grew quickly after the World War II and because a hub for aircraft maintenance.

Rand Airport is notorious for its hot and high conditions and relatively short runways. Situated at an altitude of 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, the density altitude is as high as 2,400 metres (7,900 ft) when the outside air temperature (OAT) is 30 °C.

Today, the airport hosts several air charter operators, flying schools and a number of aircraft maintenance organizations, as well as pilot shops, car hire and other aviation-related enterprises. The airport is home to several companies such as Phoebus Apollo Aviation (DC-3 & DC-9), SkyCLass Aviation (DC-3 & DC-4), Springbok Classic Air (Beech18 & DC-3) and the Flying Lions Aerobatic Team Harvards.

There are two locations for lodgings: The Academy Bed & Breakfast and the Dakota Lodge, both situated on the airport grounds. Across the runway you can find the excellent SAA aviation museum which includes two retired SAA B-747 classic jumbo jets and several ex SAA propliner types.

At the centre of the airport you will find the 1950s art-deco style control tower and main terminal building. The terminal was built to resemble the shape of an aircraft when viewed head-on. Right next to the main terminal resides the excellent Harvard Café. They offer a full range of breakfast, lunch and dinner with a large outside sitting area with a grand view of the airplane ramp (It also offers an excellent Wifi)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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