Johannesburg, 03 June 2013 – Three years since it became operational, King Shaka International Airport has made great strides in protecting and preserving the communities around it.
The airport is Airports Company South Africa’s first green-field project, located 35 kilometres north of Durban in La Mercy, which is an area known for its rich biodiversity.
As part of the development, an undertaking was made that the airport’s existence should ensure that it does not disturb fauna and flora around it. Airports Company South Africa had to ensure that its construction adhered to stringent environmental requirements, which include the development and implementation of operational plan for noise, air quality, water quality, waste water, groundwater, wetlands as well as flora and fauna.
“Since the airport become operational, we have sought to uphold and exemplify Airports Company South Africa’s sound environmental management framework, which is in line with global benchmarks,” says King Shaka International Airport spokesperson, Colin Naidoo.
“This has entailed adopting innovative practices that ensure that we align our business performance with good governance, social and environmental responsibilities,” he adds.
Airports Company South Africa’s environmental strategy focuses on energy conservation and climate change, water resource management, noise management, waste management, air pollution and biodiversity.
King Shaka International is making great progress across all categories. It has adopted and implemented several innovative initiatives across all key areas with the overarching objective being to ensure that, as one of South Africa’s three busiest with annual passenger traffic of between five and six million, its operations do not negatively impact on the communities around it.
In terms of energy saving, the airport uses Light Emitting Diodes (LED) technology for its runway lights, terminal directional signage and street lighting. All lighting at its retail section and at public parking has been replaced with lower wattage lamps and excess light luminaries in public areas and 450 unnecessary down lighters in air bridges have been removed.
The airport also has a state-of-the art Building Management System, which switches off office lights and air-conditioners after business hours, and also reduces the temperature settings on all water heaters to save electricity.
King Shaka International has made great strides in waste management and water management. It is recycling approximately 41 per cent of the solid non-hazardous waste generated on site while water usage at the site does not exceed the requirement as stipulated in the Record of Decision for construction and operation of the airport. This is done by implementing various water loss prevention measures.
To avoid water wastage, the airport purifies its own sewage on site by means of two Waste Water Treatment Works. The treated water from these plants ultimately ends up in a final buffer dam where it is re-used.
Adjacent to the airport are wetlands where Barn Swallows come to roost. Every year between October and April, an estimated three million of these birds flock to the reed bed from Eastern Europe for the summer season.
A key concern during King Shaka International’s construction was the impact the airport’s operations would have on bird life. This resulted in King Shaka International setting up a ‘world first’ bird radar system that is directly linked to the control tower to mitigate bird strikes. The system boasts 24/7 surveillance that provides real-time information on bird movements and provides warning of potentially hazardous situations.
Since its installation, barn swallow strikes have declined from about 10 in 2010 when the airport became operational, to none as of April this year.
“We are very proud of this achievement, which reflects the efficiency of the systems we have in place that speak to our commitment to protecting surrounding wildlife,” says Naidoo.
King Shaka International Airport has also just completed an Air Emissions Inventory, which formed part of the Air Quality Licence Application that was submitted to the local authorities. A process is underway to acquire and install the Air Emission monitoring equipment.
Other green initiatives underway at the airport includes the installation of aircraft noise monitoring equipment in and around the airport, and the clearing out of alien vegetation, which is a project that has already began and will continue until February 2015.
Issued on behalf of King Shaka International Airport by The Communications Firm
For more information, please contact
Communications and Brand Manager: King Shaka International Airport
Tel: +27 (0) 32 436 6609
Cell: +27 (0) 82 820 2744