Cape Town Airport Billion-Rand-Upgrade

Cape Town International Airport is set to receive a 5.5-billion rand upgrade, to boost the number of flights to the city and to deal with an increase in passengers.

According to Deidre Davids, Cape Town International Airport spokesperson, Cape Town has been awarded best airport in Africa for three years in a row. “On peak days in December, we processed as many as 35 000 to 39 000 passengers,” Davids said.

The Airport facelift will include a realigned runway and new facilities for domestic arrivals in the international terminal. The airport will realign the primary runway and construct parallel and rapid exit taxiways. The realigned primary runway will be 3500 meters in length and build to international specifications. The runway work is to cost 3.8 billion rand.

The runway and associate infrastructure would improve access to Cape Town and the Western Cape and “will enable growth of passengers and cargo traffic”.

The airport developments would improve access for larger aircraft with a wingspan of 6 meters, or more. This project can result in a 50% increase in aircraft landing and departures, Davids said.

The construction will begin in 2019 and is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

According to Davids the highlight of this project will be the express route available to passengers who do not need to collect their bags. The size of the baggage hall will also increase, she said.

The new domestic arrivals project will begin in 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2021. The international terminal project will cost R1 billion and construction will also start next year. It is also expected to be completed in 2021.

“The project includes the expansion of the check-in area, the addition of two international specification baggage carousels and the reconfiguration of security, customs, passport control and international arrivals’ meters and greeters,” Davids said.

“There are also other projects in the pipeline that will bring the total to R7 billion.”

Davids advised that the airport authorities are all well aware of the current water crisis and that the airport was playing its part to save and encourage water saving. She stated that the airport is working towards becoming water self-sufficient “both for operational and construction related purposes”. This includes low-pressure flow taps, optimized air-conditioning plant procedures and grey-water re-use, she said. Boreholes had been sunk around the airport grounds and a water purification plant has established.

Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde said he welcomed the expansion projects at the airport. He thinks this will go a long way towards helping the Western Cape achieve our goal of growing tourism in the province. Winde added that tourism in the Western Cape sustained over 200 000 direct jobs.

Judy Lain, Wesgro’s chief marketing officer, agreed that the project was a huge boost towards growing tourism. She said that all tourists to the city and the province needed to be mindful of the drought. “We encourage our guests to live like a local and practice water-wise tourism. We are setting a new world-standard for how to respond to climate change, with best water practices being implemented by businesses and citizens alike. This is our new normal – reducing water consumption by nearly 60% in just three years,” Lain said.

Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the project should also stimulate trade within Africa, as many of the destinations are inland and not suitable for sea or road transportation.

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