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FlightCom: November 2021




- Africa’s Biggest and Busiest

2021 has been a traumatic year for OT Tambo Airport. On top of the trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic, the airport suspended with immediate effect two of its most senior managers for “supply chain irregularities”. AT THE END OF MAY 2021 it was reported that the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) had suspended, with immediate effect, two senior managers at the OR Tambo International Airport. They were Pityi-Vokwana the General Manager and the Assistant General Manager: airport operations, Kris Reddy. ACSA CEO Mpumi Mpofu said the suspensions were because of company and law enforcement agencies' investigations into allegations of supply chain management irregularities and transgressions of the Public Finance Management Act. Jabulani Khambule, ACSA’s current group executive: commercial, was seconded to the position of General Manager of the airport in the interim. Group executive: business development, Charles Shilowa, was appointed into "a blended role" to look after both the business development and commercial divisions, and Kamal Shivanand has been seconded to the position of assistant general manager of the airport.

The Airport OR Tambo International Airport is still Africa's biggest and busiest airport. At its peak it handled almost 20 million passengers a year, which is more than half of South Africa's total air travelling passengers. With the resumption of both domestic and limited international flights OR Tambo is on the rebound but it is expected to take three to five years to recover to previous levels. Although it is only expected to handle around 10 million passengers in 2021, the airport has the capacity to handle up to 28 million passengers each year. It is also one of the few airports in the world to host non-stop flights to all continents (except Antarctica, which Cape Town International does).

Large-scale malfeasance added to the woes

These allegations of large-scale malfeasance added to the woes experienced by the airport on top of the Covid-19 related dramatic drop in passengers. OR Tambo is the primary airport for domestic and international travel to and from South Africa. 30

FlightCom: November 2021

In 1996, OR Tambo overtook Cairo International Airport as the busiest in Africa, and across the whole of the Middle East and Africa OR Tambo airport is the fourth-busiest after Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi Airports. In the 2015 World Airport Awards, OR Tambo was named the best airport in Africa, with Cape Town coming in second, and King Shaka in Durban finishing third. Situated almost 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) above sea level and with temperatures often climbing above 30 degrees Celsius, OR Tambo, with its ‘hot and


The impressive new SACAA and ACSA head office as it will appear when complete.

high’ conditions, is an ideal destination for airliners conducting weight and temperature (WAT) certification and proving flights. Notably, it was used as a test airport for the Concorde during the 1970s, to determine how the aircraft would perform while taking off and landing at high altitude. Similarly, on 26 November 2006, the airport became the first in Africa to host the Airbus A380. The aircraft landed in Johannesburg on its way to Sydney via the South Pole on a test flight. In 2014, Airbus returned to OR Tambo to test its next clean sheet design – the A350. As part of its certification flights for the A350, Airbus conducted hot and high performance as well as auto-landing trials on Runway 03R. Although the 4,4 km long Runway 03L/21R is one of the longest commercial international airport runways in the world, aircraft taking off from OR Tambo must often reduce weight by loading less fuel than they would otherwise. In particular, second segment climb performance for twin engine jets can be a limiting factor. On some of the longer routes, such as flights from Johannesburg to North America, some aircraft types have to refuel en-route, while for the return flight, because takeoff from New York is from a lower altitude airport, they can upload enough fuel to reach Johannesburg non-stop.

Airside There are two parallel north/south runways and a disused cross runway. Both runways are equipped with Instrument Landing Systems (ILS). Furthermore, all runways are equipped with Approach Lighting Systems with sequenced flashers, and touchdown zone (TDZ) lighting. The cross runway is now a taxiway. During busy periods, outbound flights use the western runway, 03L/21R, for takeoff, while inbound flights use the eastern runway, 03R/21L, for landing. Naturally wind direction is a determining factor; however, due to the prevailing conditions, on most days, flights takeoff to the north and land from the south. Upgrade Developments The airport’s last major development was done for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This included expansion of the international terminal, with the new international pier (opened in 2009) increasing capacity and accommodating the Airbus A380. A new Central Terminal building was completed on April 1, 2009. An additional multi-storey parkade was built in January 2010, at a cost of R470 million, opposite the Central Terminal Building. Terminal A was also upgraded and the associated roadways realigned to accommodate more International Departures space.

FlightCom: November 2021


This massive upgrade has proved to be sufficient to meet the growth in passenger numbers since the World Cup. The Central Terminal Building, which cost R2 billion, boosted passenger capacity at the landside of the terminal, additional luggage carousels were added and the terminal now allows direct access for both international and domestic travellers.

operations for low cost carriers, thus reducing the costs of airport handling with air bridges and aircraft tugs for push back.

To accommodate the increase in car traffic, a multistory parkade was built and the airport now has more than 16,300 parking bays, when combining the parking available in the parkade, shade parking, carports and The International Pier, which cost R535 million to open parking. build, increased international arrivals and departures capacity in a two-storey structure and added nine airside contact stands, four of which are Airbus A380 Landside Developments compatible. To develop the key non-airside revenue, A massive new building to house the ACSA head office the large duty-free mall has been extended into this and the Civil Aviation Authority is being completed area, and additional lounges and passenger-holding in the airport precinct. The first phase will see the areas have been constructed on the upper level. construction of three six-storey office buildings with a floor area of 33,000 square metres. Construction began in February 2020 with an anticipated completion date Growth for the first phase at the end of 2020. This has now been There was a proposal for a second ‘midfield’ terminal pushed out. to be built between the two runways, but this has been Although under previous growth projections OR Tambo cancelled. It would have contained its own domestic was scheduled for further expansion, these plans have and international check-in facilities, shops and lounges, been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. and was projected to cost R8 billion. The terminal would have been designed for ‘power in power out’ Terminals A and B host over 140 retail stores, with ACSA CEO Mpumi Mpofu had to wield an axe to cut out corruption at the highest level.


FlightCom: November 2021

Covid-19 and the SAA debacle reduced OR Tambo operations by aproximately 50%.

Duty Free stores based airside in Terminal A. The stores are open daily from 06h00 to 22h00. These extended hours include the banks, pharmacy, post office and bureau de change. There is a 24-hour travel clinic, and the airport's police station also operates around the clock. In 2019 OR Tambo unveiled the first phase of a R4.5 billion mixed-use development that will form part of a massive seven-phase plan to revamp the airport. ACSA said that the airport plans a further 180,000 square metres for a mixed-use development to be located on the northern precinct of the airport. The mixed-use development will consist of a variety of buildings which are framed in such a way as to form a boulevard at the international departures level, where a variety of retail commercial and ancillary buildings each open onto a vibrant energetic ‘street’ environment serviced by lively restaurants, corner cafes and bars. It will also improve the airport’s connectivity from the Gautrain station and to existing hotels and facilities via pedestrian-friendly connections to the international terminal building.

Further Broad Development In addition to this development, O.R Tambo International’s long-term infrastructure plan features midfield cargo and midfield passenger terminals, each requiring several billion Rands in further investment. These developments will accommodate growing passenger demand and expand the midfield cargo facilities at the airport to accommodate up to two million tonnes of air cargo annually. At the same time, airport users will start to see upgrades to the existing terminal buildings. ACSA says the airport already supports about 38,000 jobs in and around the precinct. Air travel is made more attractive by the intermodal connectivity offered by Gautrain and Bus Rapid Transport stations within a precinct, the ultimate development of which, will allow for easy access to hotels, restaurants, fast food facilities, outdoor seating, retail, offices and a worldclass conference centre. 

FlightCom: November 2021




STAR AIR CARGO Star Air is a key independent airline support operator on the African continent. It incorporates Star Air Cargo and Star Air Maintenance as separate entities. The business focusses on aircraft leasing, including aircraft with crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) charter, and cockpit and crew training for its own operations. Star Air Cargo supplies Boeing 737 freighters and passenger aircraft to airlines around the world.

STAR AIR CARGO BEGAN as a small charter operator in the early nineties. The business grew using light aircraft for scenic flights and overnight cargo runs. It originally operated piston aircraft to operate courier freight and carry small high value or time sensitive cargo (hence the Cargo name) for DHL Express and other companies. Typically, an early client was the Sunday Independent newspaper, which flew newspapers from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth in a Piper Aztec.

Boeing 737-200, ZS-OWM. This aircraft, along with a Dornier 228, was placed on contract in East Africa. During the decline of the Rand against the US Dollar at the start of the millennium, some of the founding business partners divested, leaving Peter Annear to build the company into its present size by leasing five Boeing 737s. These include two series-200s and three 'Classics'. The current fleet consists of six Boeing 737-300 freighters and two 737-300s for passenger operations. The passenger aircraft can be tailored to the client’s needs by configuring the seating to all

can cost up to $150 000 per gear leg

The company’s first heavy jet was acquired in 2002: a


FlightCom: November 2021

COMPANIES economy or a combination of economy and business class. The Boeing fleet is equipped with integral stairs, minimising ground handling costs and requirements and making the aircraft far more flexible for remote African operators. For contracts that are six months or longer, Star Air can brand the aircraft for customers to maintain uniformity between their fleet and leased aircraft.

its own A1 charter license and employs 16 full time cockpit crew and 16 full time cabin staff. CEO Peter Annear is also a type rated 737 captain and remains a keen general aviation pilot with a Mooney Ovation.  Star Air Cargo and Maintenance's Peter Annear and Marcel "Lieb" Liebenberg (left).

In June 2019, Star Air Cargo was acquired by Comair, who agreed to pay U$5.14 million to acquire the group. However it was realised that the acquisition by Comair would adversely affect Star Air’s ability to be a truly independent supplier of service to all airlines. And then, due to the financial constraints imposed on Comair by the COVID-19 lockdown and the subsequent business rescue process, the Comair deal was cancelled in October 2020. Star Air Cargo values its independence and has a variety of quality clients. At various times they have supplied: Rwandair, Air Botswana, Air Malawi, Air Tanzania, LAM Mozambique Airlines, Air Namibia, SA Express, Mango and Airlink. The company holds

Star Air supplies aircraft with full Aircraft Maintnenace Crew and Insurance leases.

FlightCom: November 2021


SA Flyer 2021|11


Boeing 737-300 Cargo Aircraft available for wet (ACMI) lease. Based at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg South Africa.

Contact: or Tel: +27 11 234 7038 36

FlightCom: November 2021


YES AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE YES AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE PTY LTD is an Approved South African Civil Aviation Authority (Part 145) Aircraft Maintenance Organization AMO 1345, a leading MRO, located at OR TAMBO International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a hangar area over 35,000 square feet. Approved Capabilities; • Airframe – Boeing B727, B737CL, B737NG (last quarter of 2021) • Engine – JT8D Series, CFM56-3 and CFM56-7 Series We offer excellent, cost-effective Maintenance and Engineering Services on a 24/7 basis with highly skilled experienced engineers. Our dedicated Structural repair team, can complete minor to major repairs and modifications at our facility, including on-site jobs. Base Maintenance includes; • Scheduled A, B, C and D checks • Structural Inspection, repair and/or modifications • Engineering Modifications/Upgradation on the aircraft, engines and related systems including Avionics Interior and Structures. YeS”…’n in with “ Let’s Beg

• Major component Change • Corrosion Prevention and Control Program Applications • Airworthiness Directives and Service Bulletins Compliance • Trouble Shooting • Borescope Inspections We are committed to complying with the regulatory authority requirements in the industry to meet and exceed customer expectations and aim to maintain the highest standard of aviation safety, compliance of procedures and attaining total customer satisfaction, by continuously monitoring and optimizing the quality system and operational procedures, in the industry. Our Quality Management System & Safety Management System includes; • SA CAA Approval • DR Congo CAA Approval Hangar 5, Safair Complex, Northern Perimeter Road, Bonaero Park, 1622, South Africa Tel: +2711068000. Email: accmanager@ Website: 

ying… …keep fl

LEADING MRO IN THE AFRICAN REGIONS We provide Excellent Cost-Effective Aircraft & Engine Maintenance and Engineering Services/solutions on a 24/7 basis with highly skilled experienced Engineers & Technical experts at a quick TAT. Multiple Civil Aviation Regulating Bodies Approved Organizations.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •


Airframe » B727-100/200 » B737-200 » B737-CL (200/300/400/500) » B737-NG (600/700/800/900)

Base/Line Maintenance Services Scheduled Checks A, B, C & D Structural Checks, Repair & CPCP Engineering & Modification Program Field Assistance Engine, APU & Landing Gear & Major Component Change STC compliance AD’s & Service Bulletin Compliance Return to Services, End of Lease (EOL) Dismantling/Teardown Program Parking and Storage CAMO /Technical Services Fleet Management Interior Modification & Upgradation

Engine/APU Services • Boroscope Inspection (BSI) & Blend repair • Top-Case Repair • QEC/LRU Major Component Change • Lease & Lease Return Service • Technical Assistance

Workshops/Support Services • • • • • • • •

Structural Sheetmetal Battery Paint Oxygen Wheels & Brakes Avionics Interior

Engine » P & W JT8D - All Series » CFMI CFM56 -3/7 Series

YeS Inhouse Training Facility Type Training Courses » Boeing 727/737 – All Series » Theory/Practical-Categories B1/B2/C » Difference Fleet Courses as appropriate

Other Training Courses » Human Factors » Continuation Training » Aviation Legislation » Fuel Tank Safety Level 1/2

P O Box 8219, Bonaero Park, 1619, Hangar 5, Safair Complex, Northern Perimeter Road, Bonaero Park, 1622, South Africa

Tel : +27 11 068 0000 / +27 82 774 7228 (AOG) Email : / Website :

FlightCom: November 2021



AVES TECHNICS AVES TECHNICS is an AMO company under the Nhlanhleni group of Companies. The AMO is managed and run by aviation expects who are passionate about aviation. We offer Aircraft Maintenance, Airworthiness Management, Project Management, Quality and Safety Management. We have full capabilities on B737 Classic/NG, A320 Family and Embraer 135/145/170/190 We have a team of that will tailor make the service to meet you require. Our current Customer include Operators, Owners and VIP Operators in the continent. We align our approvals to that of the client country regulations or use our approval as approved by local authority We are based at Denel Facilities near O R Tambo Airport, with direct access to the OR Tambo flight line.

We are also able to position our team at Customer’s facility or anywhere as preferred by the Operator/ Customer. We also integrate with Local engineers rated by Local Civil Aviation Authority after they have undergone our quality system approval. Aircraft Maintenance is Our Passion. Aves Technics hold the SACAA approval AMO1541. Aves Technics, D3 Building, Denel Aviation Campus, 3-5 Atlas Road, Bonaero Park, 1619 Gauteng, South Africa. Tel: +27 11 568 7677 Email: Mobile: +27 82 216 3980 

MISTRAL AVIATION SERVICES MISTRAL AVIATION SERVICES was founded in 2002 at OR Tambo Airport with the aim of addressing the high cost of operating aircraft thousands of miles from the original equipment manufacturers. (OEM). Mistral has built a strong reputation as an AMO dedicated to the servicing, overhaul and repair of aircraft landing gears, brakes and wheels. Located near OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa Mistral have an extensive capability list and have clients world wide. Mistral continues to add to its capability and has recently added specialised machining and Non destructive testing. Mistral’s experience base and investment in the future has grown as they embark on staff development to meet the challenge of new equipment.


FlightCom: November 2021

Contact Details: Telephone: (27) 81-755-2534 E-Mail: Visit: Address: Safair Campus, Northern Perimeter Road, OR Tambo International. Bonaero Park, Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa 

We are qualified in Aircraft Maintenance, Airworthiness Management, Project Management, Quality and Safety Management.

Our capabilities are: B737 Classic / B737- New Generation / Embraer 135/145/170/190 Airbus A320 family

Aves Technics AMO 1541

D3 Building Denel Aviation Campus 3-5 Atlas Road Bonaero Park 1619

FlightCom: November 2021



SA Flyer 2021|11



Safair North Perimeter Road, OR Tambo International Airport, Bonaero Park, 1619 Tel: 081 755 2534 Fax: 011 395 1291 FlightCom: November 2021



STAR AIR MAINTENANCE Star Air Maintenance is one of those largely unseen centres of competence based on the east side of OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg. STAR AIR MAINTENANCE (SAM), is an independent Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO), and has been operating since June 2008. With 59 permanent staff, it is headed by both Peter Annear and Marcel 'Lieb' Liebenberg.

(AMEs), the company carries out third-party heavy maintenance as well as taking care of Star Air Cargo's contract and charter fleet of Boeing 737s. The AMO is further licensed to work on McDonnell Douglas MD-series aircraft and DC-9s.

Lieb is a heavy jet maintenance veteran with valuable experience as both a Tech Rep and an AME running major C-Checks for many African airlines. The company occupies the old east-side fast jet testing centre at Hangar K7 which can accommodate four B737-300s within the Denel compound at OR Tambo International Airport.

Unlike his contemporaries in larger maintenance bases in South Africa, Lieb is usually found in his overalls directing work from the shop floor. His hands-on style is rare in this high technology industry where paperwork skills have become as important as mechanical knowledge.

With 25 fully qualified Aircraft Maintenance Engineers

"A vital part of today's large jet maintenance is to keep overheads down", says Lieb. "Staff thus need to be

For longer leases Star Air will rebrand its aircraft to customer requirements.

FlightCom: November 2021


COMPANIES kept busy, and that means supervising workflows and making sure there is always something to do. Due to events such as the current supply chain crisis there could be delays in obtaining spare parts, and some tasks may take longer than others, so it is important to avoid periods where our engineers may be idle whilst waiting for colleagues to finish off." "There are some costly ADs and SBs related to heavy jets. Boeing 737s for example require landing gear removal and overhaul every ten years. That can cost up to $150 000 per gear leg. A C-Check can come in at around US$43,000 for labour if the aircraft does not require heavy maintenance. It is unscheduled maintenance that makes the C-Check costly. Boeing's Corrosion Preventative Control Program (CPCP) is a good example. It has several three, four and eight year calendar-based cycles and these can require an extra and substantial 3500 hours of additional work. Lieb's experienced approach to workflow and tasking has a valuable spin-off. With knowledgeable and experienced management, the customer Tech Reps can benefit from integrated work packs that avoid repetitive work shared by both the major C-check and the CPCP requirements, thus reducing the final bill.

Star Air Maintenance also offers its clients the option of sourcing their own parts for a nominal handling fee. Star Air Maintenance subscribes to Partsbase, a database and tracking organisation that's able to source new and used components from around the world. Lieb says his relationship with the CAA is excellent and he finds their inspectors helpful when needed to resolve issues. "We occasionally need CAA approval to move aircraft stranded because of a technical issue and have found the Authority’s personnel very helpful in such cases," Lieb adds. Whilst Star Air Maintenance would like to grow their AMO, Lieb is wary of growing too fast. "Having more people makes it easy to lose day to day control, unless systems are in place. At the moment we happily bring in experienced and skilled contract engineers when needed.” “Some things we have chosen to outsource as running several departments is costly and requires dramatically more regulatory monitoring and oversight. Thus, we contract out our safety equipment needs and some other tasks like borescope inspections - at least for the time being," Lieb says. In this way Star Air Maintenance is able to operate with maximum efficiency and pass these cost benefits on to clients. 

Star Air Maintenance ensures maximum aircraft availability and reliability.


FlightCom: November 2021

MAINTENANCE Star Air Maintenance Pty Ltd (SAM) is a subsidiary company of Star Air Cargo Pty Ltd, that provides all the AOC’s maintenance requirements up to C check. We are based at O R Tambo International Airport and our team of highly qualified engineers offer line maintenance to third parties.

SA Flyer 2019|11

Boeing 737-200 Boeing 737 Classics Based at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg South Africa. Contact: or Tel: 011 395 3756 and 011 973 5512

FlightCom: November 2021



FAIR AVIATION FAIR AVIATION is based in Johannesburg with their Aircraft Parked at Fire Blade Aviation’s FBO. Fair Aviation Operates Local and International Charters for Private Business’, Organizations and Tourists to varies locations including but limited to Mines, Safari Lodges, Private landing strips and to any Province in and around South Africa. Our Licence allows us to operate internationally with small and large aircraft both passenger and cargo operations. We pride ourselves on exceptional all-inclusive aviation service and we enjoy building relationships with our clients which keeps them coming back time and time again.

On the other side of our business, we focus on aircraft leasing and have operated in many African countries such as Sudan, Chad, Mozambique, Botswana, Ghana, Djibouti, Ethiopia etc as well as brokerage for the sale of aircraft for clients through our company FairJets (Pty) Ltd. If you have any aviation and travel requirements whether it be for a charter for passengers, cargo or you are looking for your own aircraft please contact us. +27 11 395 4552 

We have an inhouse Travel Agent (Journey Corp Travel) which can take care of all your additional needs for your travel including Hotel/Lodge bookings, Car Rentals, Transfers, Visas etc.

Travel in comfort and style on an aircraft catered for your needs. Safety and efficiency is our key concern.

SA Flyer 2021|11




FlightCom: November 2021







FlightCom: November 2021