It was up to airports to build brand loyalty and provide a service that differentiated from others so that people wanted to fly to places like OR Tambo |International Airport where the transit processes were seamless.

Johannesburg - OR Tambo International Airport outside Johannesburg handled more international passenger arrivals last year than all of South Africa's other international airports combined.

According to a written reply by Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor to a parliamentary question, of the about 4.8 million international travellers who arrived by air in 2012/13, almost 3.9m entered through OR Tambo.

The country's second-busiest international airport was Cape Town, which dealt with 750 000 arrivals over the same period.

Pandor's reply, tabled on Tuesday, lists 11 international airports, including Waterkloof Military Airbase. The airbase handled 3997 international arrivals in the 12 months up to March 31 last year.

It made headlines less than a month later when a plane chartered by the politically connected Gupta family, and carrying 270 wedding guests, landed there without proper clearance.

The reply also shows that some airports, while designated “international”, stamp very few passports.

These include Bloemfontein International Airport, which processed 31 international arrivals and 19 departures in 2012/13, and Port Elizabeth International Airport, which handled 216 international arrivals and 413 departures.

OR Tambo airport also handled more than 80 percent of outward bound passengers - 3.8m of 4.7m international departures.

Pandor said 14.3m people arrived in South Africa and 12.8m departed through “land ports” during 2012/13. A total of 116 144 persons arrived via sea ports and 114 288 departed that way. - Sapa