Upington Airport




08/26 2736m

17/35 4900m

Radio Frequencies

TWR 121.3

APRON 122.65

APP 121.3

ATIS 121.3

Passengers per year ≈27.000
Movements per year ≈1.400
Airlines South African Airlink, South African Airways
Interesting facts 17/35 is the longest runway in Africa


With the fall of the Portuguese regime in Angola, South African Airways lost its landing rights in Luanda. In addition to restrictions to overflying African states, there was concern that the country would lose its landing rights at the Ivory Coast and Ile da Sol.

Upington Airport's runway was built to accommodate a Boeing 747 with a full load of passengers, cargo and fuel, so that it could take off for Europe without having to stop along the way. Upington was chosen because of its favourable height above sea level, global position and availability of land.

Upington Airport was opened in 1968 as Pierre van Ryneveld Airport. In 1974 a corrugated iron fire station was erected but this structure was converted into administrative offices for airport management and other administrative staff in 1996 and the fire station was relocated.

From August 1976 to December 1996, SAA made use of Upington as a refuelling station for two weekly scheduled Boeing 747 flights to London and Zurich.


The town of Upington relies heavily on the airport which although small, is by no means quiet. Some 78 tons of cargo per week are flown from Upington during the busiest months of November, December and January. Cars, grapes, fish and courier parcels are flown to Cape Town, Kimberley and Johannesburg, as well as to England, Germany and Spain. Some one million tons of grapes depart from Upington during one year. Mining equipment is sent to other African countries and the airport also sees live sheep and goats heading for Saudi Arabia.


The airport is also used for military purposes. It is used by the South African Air Force (SAAF) and South African Airways to train pilots. The SAAF also used the airport to train pilots for the South African presidential jet (Boeing 737-700 ZS-RSA).



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