VVIP immigration terminal at ORTIA gets the green light

2 min read

Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport could soon boast its a new private customs and immigration service at for business people.

Fireblade Aviation, owned by South Africa’s well-known Oppenheimer family, was given the go-ahead to open the new terminal after the Gauteng High court over-ruled the department of Home Affairs’ decision to retract its approval of the facility.

The approval was granted last year, but it was revoked a few days later, after which Fireblade approached the court and asked to declare that the approval remained of force and effect and that it may not be revoked.

Fireblade on Friday won its legal battle in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria when a judge declared that former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba did indeed give the company the go-ahead to run a customs and immigration service at OR Tambo International Airport.

According to judge Sulet Potterill, who presided over the case, the facts reflect that the concept of establishing a fixed based aviation operation (FBO) was already floated in 2011 and had the support of OR Tambo International Airport, the airports company, Denel and the Department of Home Affairs.

It required Fireblade to adhere to many regulatory hoops from various departments and institutions. “It was a four year expensive exercise to establish this seven star facility,” the judge said.

On its website Fireblade states that the services it provides to clients at OR Tambo include international and domestic arrivals and departures, VIP ground handling services, apron parking, hangar parking, airport fees and refueling.

“Fireblade Aviation is the culmination of the Oppenheimer Family’s lifetime ambition to host a world class facility for business aviation at O. R. Tambo International Airport,” states the website’s landing page.

“We have both a full range business terminal and a charter division that, between them, cater to all your flying needs.”