A public participation meeting will be held next week as part of the plans to rename Cape Town International Airport. The Minister of Transport has confirmed that proposals have been received to rename the airport after the four struggle icons, Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela or Robert Sobukwe.
In an official notice, the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) said a public participation meeting will be held at the airport on Monday, June 4 at 6pm.
“Acsa Cape Town International will be undergoing a name change as part of the Transformation of Heritage Landscape government program,” the notice read.
Speaking to IOL, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, Janine Myburgh, said there are more pressing issues than just renaming the airport.
She is of the opinion that Cape Town International Airport is a politically neutral name which enjoys international recognition.
Myburgh added that she understands the political pressure of renaming the airport, but it is likely to be controversial and will mean another “distracting problem”, along with the costs of rebranding and new signage.
“Airports like Heathrow have huge investments in their names, and the brands are so strong that it is not necessary to attach the names of the cities they serve,” Myburgh said. “We should learn from them.”
The airport is also currently being upgraded, and will include a second runway to attract more international traffic.
“We already have an increasing number of direct flights from international destinations and this pattern is set to continue,” she added. “We can’t think of a better name than Cape Town Airport, and we hope this will be realised when all the suggested names are on the table.”
The Secretary of the Greater Cape Civic Alliance, Philip Bam believes that the airport’s name change is necessary as it recognises South Africa’s history.
“But we should also recognise the people of this province,” he said. “There are people who fought in the liberation Struggle without holding an AK47. There are many icons in the education and academic fields.”