DESPITE the fact that the first flight took off from King Shaka International Airport last week, the state-of-the-art airport was officially opened on Saturday.
President Jacob Zuma opened the airport that has the capacity to handle 7,5million passengers annually.
Other high-profile guests who attended the event included Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele, King Goodwill Zwelithini and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.
Thousands of people from the surrounding areas of Tongaat, Verulam and Waterloo looked on in amazement as Zuma unveiled a statue erected to honour King Shaka, after whom the airport was named.
Zuma praised the founder of the Zulu nation, whose three-metre tall statue stands majestically outside the main terminal building.
Zuma said for far too long the image of the great warrior was viewed "within a colonialmindset".