Profitable Acsa has big spending plans

The Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) will spend R5,2-billion in the next four years on improving infrastructure before the Soccer World Cup in 2010.

Most of the money will be spent on Johannesburg International airport, which is to get new multistorey parking lots, a parking bay for the new supersize Airbus and a railway station for the Gautrain.

“Investment will increase significantly in the current financial year to R1,2-billion and planned capital expenditure for 2005 to 2009 is R5,2-billion,” Acsa MD Monhla Hlahla said at the release of the company’s results in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

“The awarding of the tournament to South Africa has meant an acceleration and bringing-forward of capital expenditure programmes.

“Our goal is to have all development projects complete by 2010 so that there are no construction sites at our facilities when the tournament is on.”

At Johannesburg International airport, a central terminal development costing an estimated R1,6-billion is being brought forward by two years.

The Northern International Pier Project to accommodate the Airbus A380, which carries up to 800 passengers, has gone out to tender. The project will cost an estimated R512-million.

The parkades, which are designed with 4 000 parking bays to cope with an increased demand from the growing popularity of low-cost airlines, will cost R300-million.

Expected increases in traffic at the airport require additional aircraft parking at a cost of R100-million.

About 7,3-million passengers departed from the airport for the year ending March 2005.

At Cape Town International airport, from where 3,1-million passengers departed in Acsa’s past financial year, work has started on a new, R70-million multistorey parkade.

A structured parking area is also being built at an estimated cost of R125-million, and there are plans to expand the airport’s terminal at a cost of R650-million.

At Durban International airport, which had 1,6-million departing passengers, terminal buildings will be extended at a cost of R35-million, while a parking area is being built at a cost of R93-million.

Other airports around the country will receive R132-million for upgrades.

Acsa’s headline earnings for the year rose by 26% to R593-million, driven by an increase in domestic airline traffic.

Acsa financial director Brooks Mparutsa said the profits appear to be sustainable.

“The profits going forward are healthy and sustainable,” he said.

Acsa’s revenue for the year rose by 5,3% to R1,9-billion as passenger numbers rose by 12% to 13,3-million.

Acsa’s operating expenses rose by 7,8% to R1-billion for the year.

Staff expenses were R336-million, up 13% for the year.

Repair and maintenance costs were R99-million, up 5,6%.

A dividend of 59 cents a share was declared.—Sapa

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