Port Elizabeth Airport is one of the smaller airports in South Africa. With slightly more than 1.2 million passengers a year, the airport is the fourth biggest in the country. As there is no custom clearance at Port Elizabeth Airport, only domestic flights are allowed to depart and land at the airport. The infrastructure is accordingly weak.
Port Elizabeth Airport is a regional airport which is not serving as a base or focus city of one of the larger carriers in the country. Nevertheless, four different airlines operate flights to Port Elizabeth.
Cape Town and Johannesburg are served by South African Airways, British Airways (operated by Comair) and the two low-cost carriers FlySafair and Mango. Moreover, Durban is also served by the two network carrier British Airways and South African Airways. East London is the only city only served by one airline, Airlink.
Most important carriers at Port Elizabeth Airport:
After larger improvement works, Port Elizabeth Airport opened a refurbished terminal handling departures and arrivals in the early 2000‘s. Nevertheless, Port Elizabeth Airport is anything but a shopping paradise.
There are a few small shops offering souvenirs as well as kiosks, but nothing more than that. Besides, there is a fast-food outlet offering nice views of the tarmac. If you are looking for shopping or nice dining, you’d better drive to nearby Summerstrand!
Due to its size, Port Elizabeth Airport doesn’t offer any sleeping facilities at all. Due to the high criminality in Port Elizabeth, it’s also not recommendable to spend a night in the terminal building. Luckily, the small airport got an airport hotel.
Road Lodge Port Elizabeth Airport located just a few steps from the terminal offers decent rooms for a very fair price. Rates usually start at 535 ZAR (~ 35 Euro / 40 US-Dollar) per night. Other options include hotels in town or in nearby Summerstrand.
As Port Elizabeth Airport is located quite close to the city center, there are many choices not too far away from the airport.
Even though Port Elizabeth Airport only handles a few flights each day, there are two lounges. Passengers of South African Airlines may use of the South African Domestic Premium Class Lounge, while other passengers can enjoy the Bidvest Premium Lounge. Both lounges offer a buffet with drinks and food as well as comfortable seating. While the South African Lounge is strictly limited to SAA and Star Alliance frequent flyers and passengers with a Business Class ticket, the Bidvest Premium Lounge may also be enjoyed using Priority Pass or paying an entrance fee of 184 ZAR (~ 12 Euro / 13.5 US-Dollar).
Lounges at Port Elizabeth Airport:
Port Elizabeth Airport had very weak connections to the city center some years ago. Nowadays, there’s a regular bus connection to the city center. This one is reliable and safe, even for tourists. Moreover, there are minibuses used by locals.
These are not recommendable for tourists at all. Another choice are taxis which cost around 100 ZAR (~ 6.5 Euro / 7.5 US-Dollar) for a ride to the city center. If you are planning a longer tour, you should consider renting a car. All major renting companies are having offices at Port Elizabeth Airport.