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Question About B.O.A.C 1953 Comet Operations.  
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 6057 posts, RR: 43
Posted (7 years 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2817 times:

I was looking through a BOAC timetable from 1953 and was looking at the Comet I operations from London to Johannesburg, (with stops en-route).

I noticed a note that stated Johannesburg arrivals will be at Palmeitfontein Airport, while departures will be from Jan Smuts Airport. This only affected the Comet flights, the Constellation flights were not so affected and arrived/departed from the same airport.

Do I read this right? Are these two different airports? If so ... why? Why would one arrive from one airport, yet depart from another?

Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
2 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1992 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2709 times:

Quoting LongHauler (Thread starter):
Do I read this right? Are these two different airports? If so ... why? Why would one arrive from one airport, yet depart from another?

I don't think so. The timetable says Johannesburg with (Palmeifontein/Jan Smuts) at the bottom.
My conclusion is that because of some weird visibility obstacle, the Comet wouldn't be sure where it would land, and the airplane would only know during its descent into Jo'burg. Perhaps an old-timer could clarify this.
And yes, Palmeifontein is a different airport. Jan Smuts was opened in 1952 to replace it (Palmeifontein had been the main airport handling European flights since 1945).

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 29469 posts, RR: 24
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2683 times:

The runways at Palmietfontein, which was the main airport for international services until Jan Smuts opened in October 1953, were too short for the Comet to take off on the sector to NBO with a full payload. The new runway at Jan Smuts (10,500 ft. when it first opened according to one source) was ready for use before the terminal facilities were finished.The BOAC Comets thus arrived at Palmietfontein. Before departure of the return trip the next day the aircraft was ferried to the new Jan Smuts airport about 12 miles away where the northbound flights departed to benefit from the longer runway.

I'm not sure how departing passengers were handled with the new terminal building not yet complete. Perhaps there were temporary facilities or they may have checked-in elsewhere and were bused to the aircraft.

When Jan Smuts opened officially in October 1953, I believe Palmietfontein was closed. You can still see remnants of one of the runways today on Google Earth.

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