/ 10 June 2008

Acsa says airports will be ready for 2010

South Africa’s three major airports will be ready by 2010 for the thousands of Soccer World Cup visitors, the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) said on Tuesday.

”We have done a lot with very little, and without a paycheck from government, I am proud to say that we are on our way,” CEO of Acsa Monhla Hlahla told the Johannesburg Press Club.

”When it was announced that we would be hosting the World Cup in 2010, Acsa was already in the middle of it … We then planned so that we could accommodate the peak of traffic arriving in 2010 during the weeks of the World Cup.”

Hlahla said an estimated 350 000 more passengers would be arriving in South Africa during the event.

”We used the best of skills for construction for the three airports — OR Tambo International, Cape Town and Durban International.

”Concerning construction, we believe that we are on track with all the infrastructure being ready by 2009.”

She said that R21,9-billion was being put ”to good use” at the three airports.

For OR Tambo, a central terminal incorporating both the international and domestic terminal would allow the airport to be more efficient.

”The central terminal building will also reduce distances to the actual aircraft you would be boarding.

”A station for the Gautrain is also being built, but we are not able to build an underground entry way into the airport, because of infrastructure.”

In Cape Town, upper and lower level terminals were also being built.

”Late night passenger flights will be operational at Cape Town International, to utilise the full capability of the airport.”

Hlahla said that a ”totally new opportunity” was presented to them in Durban with the building of a new airport at La Mercy.

”We could not let go of this opportunity, because it is economically right to do so now. We will test the new airport in December 2009.”

The smaller airports in Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and East London were also being refurbished.

”We are lucky to have the network of airports that we have in this country … we are able to divert planes to any other airport without hassle should an emergency arise.”

She said Acsa was creating a stronger partnership with state and aviation security to optimise crime management and prevention. – Sapa