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Key areas for investment in the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis

The Aerotropolis is a ground-breaking initiative which anchors the Eastern Development Corridor as Gauteng's hub for advanced manufacturing, logistics and transport industries.

Creating a world-class gateway to global markets

The City of Ekurhuleni, together with the Gauteng province, has launched the visionary Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis initiative that is one of the most exciting development projects in South Africa today.

Increasingly, the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis, as with the metropolis, is moving from a random, haphazard development to a carefully planned long-term growth pattern that is optimised to benefit all stakeholders and, in particular, the surrounding communities.

It is by no means focused on packing an airport terminal with more retail facilities and the surrounding airport area with more services industries. Instead, it will engender broad economic benefits for the immediate airport precinct, as well as extending over a region with a radius of up to 25 minutes travelling time.

Unique investment opportunities

The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis creates unique investment opportunities* for:
  • Property developers
  • Industrial and agricultural investors
  • Just-in-time logistics companies, warehousing and cool chain storage
  • Research and development
  • Bio-Life products, pharmaceuticals, health care services and training

*Please see more details about investment opportunities below.

Organisations that are active in these fields and interested in potential opportunities are encouraged to contact the City of Ekurhuleni to start a conversation.

The difference between a metropolis and an aerotropolis

The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis is an urban development concept in which the region’s layout, infrastructure and economy has an airport at its core. In principle, it resembles a traditional metropolis with its central city area and commuter links to a variety of suburban developments.

The key difference of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis compared with a metropolis, is its dynamic links to global markets.

The concept is central to modern urban planning and has delivered considerable economic and social benefits to airport investors, associated businesses and communities in Europe and North America. The lessons learnt there are extremely valuable and are being used to shape the development of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis.

A vision with a solid foundation

The development, which covers an area of 1975 km², is a carefully planned long-term growth pattern that is optimised to benefit all stakeholders and, in particular, the
surrounding communities.

It is by no means focused on packing an airport terminal with more retail facilities and the surrounding airport area with more service industries. Instead, it will engender broad economic benefits for the immediate airport precinct, as well as extending over a region with a radius of up to 25 minutes travelling time.

Ekurhuleni and O.R. Tambo International Airport in context

The City of Ekurhuleni is an important part of the Gauteng province, the heart of the South African economy. Ekurhuleni and its sister Gauteng cities contribute:

  • Almost 33% of the country’s GDP
  • An estimated 37% of the country’s manufacturing
  • Almost 41% of South Africa’s finance, real estate and business activity

O.R. Tambo International Airport is one of the 100 busiest airports in the world and the largest airport in Africa. It handles over 50% of all airline travellers to South Africa and accommodate 20 million passengers a year in its current form.

O.R. Tambo International Airport is envisioned to handle over half a million tons of cargo traffic per year by 2025.

Key focus areas for investment

The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis will stimulate the region by generating an environment conducive to growing existing development and investment, as well as creating numerous new investment opportunities for a wide range of investors as outlined below:

1. Aerospace Manufacturing & Aviation
  • Existing skills base and advanced manufacturing operations provide the nucleus for potential expansion into the growing commercial aerospace industry.
2. Professional Services & Public Administration
  • Regional business growth will generate increased demand for professional services. The decentralisation trend of offices will make office space in the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis increasingly sought after.
3. Retail
  • Strategically located and high visibility sites available for retail development.
4. Tourism & Culture
  • Regional focus on business tourism and cultural event-based travel creates opportunities for accommodation, as well as convention and exhibition hosting facilities.
5. Education and Skills Training
  • The opportunity exists for an innovative multi-institutional university campus catering for the needs of the target industries and organisations.
Existing skills base and advanced manufacturing operations provide the nucleus for potential expansion into the growing commercial aerospace industry.
6. Natural Resources & Energy
  • The concentration of mining houses complements the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis’ transportation networks, warehousing, manufacturing and specialised technical  contractor work. Opportunities for plasma gasification plants, renewable energy pilot projects and transport of heavy equipment parts.
7. Agribusiness & Food processing
  • Land availability for high value, low-weight agricultural production. Increased opportunity for cold chain space as well as domestic and international agricultural commodity trade.
8. Health & Life Sciences
  • The air connectivity and facilities will be ideal for elective healthcare procedures, sample testing services, as well as the manufacturing and export of medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
9. Manufacturing & High Tech
  • Commitment by national, provincial and municipal government to support the revitalisation of the manufacturing sector. Excellent opportunities exist for high-value, low-weight goods production and exports.
10. Logistics and Distribution
  • Investors have the immediate benefit of mature logistics and distribution systems with excellent air, road and rail connectivity.

Get in on the ground

Is your organisation active in any of the above key focus areas of the Ekurhuleni Aerotopolis? If you wish to find out more about upcoming opportunities, start a conversation with the City of Ekurhuleni today.

Investors have the immediate benefit of mature logistics and distribution systems with excellent air, road and rail connectivity.


As the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project transitions from the 5-year vision to the 25-year Master Plan, workflow will begin to focus upon sites with the most viable development potential. Sufficient information will be collected to make a well-considered assessment of what the development potential of each targeted land parcel would be.

The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project encompasses O.R. Tambo International Airport as well as the proposed Gauteng Industrial Development Zone (GIDZ).

The GIDZ is a Gauteng Provincial Government initiative to develop a purpose-built
industrial estate linked to O.R. Tambo International Airport that promotes fixed
direct investments in value-added and export-oriented manufacturing industries.

The Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Master Planning Team is conscious of the need to translate creative vision into clear strategy implementation and goals. In line with this, the 5-year Implementation Plan has begun to fulfil that need by identifying early programmes and initiatives that will capture the imagination of investors and stimulate further development.


The financing of the various stages of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis development will be guided by a financial model. The first priority will be to identify and implement the ‘ready-to-go’ initiatives and projects.

It will be important to investigate possible scenarios to develop Public-Private Participation to fund, design, contract and operate strategic elements of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project.

Find out more

Interested organisations are invited to contact the City of Ekurhuleni today for the most current update on investment opportunities, project progress, outstanding actions and investment requirements.

The above is an extract from the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Booklet.
Click here or on the image below to view or download the document in PDF.


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