Process to rename Cape Town International Airport gets under way
Cape Town - Plans are underway to rename Cape Town International Airport, with a public participation meeting set to be held next week. But not everyone is happy about it.
The names of four Struggle icons are being considered.
The Transport Ministry confirmed that proposals had been received for the renaming of the airport - a national key point - after Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela or Robert Sobukwe. Other names would also be considered, it said.
READ MORE: Four Struggle icon names for Cape Town International Airport
The Airports Company of SA (Acsa), in an official notice, said a public participation meeting would be held at the airport at 6pm on Monday.
The notice is in line with the SA Geographical Names Council Act of 1998.
“Acsa Cape Town International will be undergoing a name change as part of the Transformation of Heritage Landscape government programme,” the notice read.
Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, said there were more pressing issues than renaming the airport.
“We understand the political pressure for a new name, but it is likely to be controversial and that will mean another distracting problem, as well as the costs of all the new signs and rebranding,” she said.
“Cape Town Airport is a politically neutral name that enjoys worldwide acceptance. It is an established brand and we should build on it rather than start all over again with a new name.
“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. We should learn from them,” she said.
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Myburgh added that Cape Town was an international destination and needed a name that enjoyed international recognition.
“The airport is being redeveloped with a second runway and it will see a lot more international traffic in the future.
“We already have an increasing number of direct flights from international destinations and this pattern is set to continue.
“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,” she said.
Philip Bam, secretary of the Greater Cape Civic Alliance, said the airport’s name change was necessary to recognise the country’s history.
“But we should also recognise the people of this province. There are people who fought in the liberation Struggle without holding an AK47.
“There are many icons in the education and academic fields.
“We should not only allow people from certain political backgrounds to be recognised in public spaces. Careful consideration should be given to this,” he said.