By Zara Nicholson
After five long years of renovations and extensions, as well as roadwork- and carpark-related frustrations, Cape Town International Airport's new Terminal 2010 has been hailed as a truly international airport.
Yesterday was the first day of operations for the brand-new Terminal 2010, and passengers and staff said everything had gone smoothly.
The multi-billion-rand Central Terminal Building has 120 check-in counters, 20 self-service check-in machines, eight air bridges, 11 bus gates and an automated baggage-sorting system.
The terminal cost R1.6 billion.
For now only the departures section of the terminal is operational. The arrivals hall is still in the old part of the airport.
The redeveloped arrivals hall will open in March.
Shirley Sheddon, who was flying to Durban yesterday, said: "There wasn't enough signage outside and I felt a bit unnerved.
"But the check-in was superb. The cleanliness is fantastic and there was a lot of personnel around to help. The facilities are impressive."
Christian Cruz from Mexico said: "The service is good, it looks clean and everything is working."
The ground level has shops and a transport plaza where passengers can catch a taxi or bus. This will be connected to the City of Cape Town's integrated rapid transit network.
The check-in counters are on the second level and there are restaurants on the mezzanine level.
Visitors can watch planes take off and land from a viewing deck.