Plans to change the name of Cape Town International may be concluded by the end of the year, and may cost an estimated R20-million.
Some of the proposed names include Albertina Sisulu International Airport, Nelson Mandela International Airport, and Winnie Madikezela-Mandela Airport.
Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, is of the opinion that Cape Town International Airport should be named after someone who fought against Apartheid.
“Our ultimate preoccupation is to ensure that we name this airport after one of our heroes or heroines who contributed immensely to the attainment of a democratic South Africa, one that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous,” said Nzimande.
The Department of Transport, as well as the Department of Arts and Culture, are still in the process of consultation.
Aanda Magaqa, spokesperson for the Department of Arts and Culture, said once the process of changing the name has been completed, it will be deposited with the South African Geographical Council for consideration.
The South African Geographical Council falls under the Department of Arts and Culture.
The process will be concluded by the end of 2018, and will be finalised after the feedback of many agencies, including the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA).
Beside the change in name, the airport will also undergo a R5.5-billion upgrade.
The airport first opened its doors in 1955 and was initially named DF Malan Airport. Since then, it has seen 6.2 million travelers pass through between 2004 and 2005, and another 8.4 million travelers between 2007 and 2008.
In recent years, the airport has averaged one million travelers per year.
The full scope of the airport’s name change is quite large, as it not only affects the airport itself, but also other entities such as local government. Road signage will need to be changed, while tourism entities will need to change their marketing collateral.
Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, said that it should be named after Nelson Mandela, as he is universally admired. His name is also one that is strongly recognisable around the world, she adds, and is only right for the airport voted best in Africa.