ACSA is investing R2 billion over 20 years to ensure Cape Town International Airport is able handle projected passenger numbers.
Speaking at the Airline Destination Workshop, ACSA Cape Town International General Manager, Monwabisi Kalawe, said the airport handled a record five million passengers during the past financial year, a figure it was on track to surpass this fiscal.
“Modern, efficient airports are an essential catalyst to economic development the world over, but this is particularly true in a city such as Cape Town, which is hugely dependent on tourism, international business travel and exports. It is crucial that the airport facilitate and not restrict the development of both the city and the region,” he told delegates.
A four-year, R250 million project to upgrade and expand the international terminals was completed earlier this year. These new terminals are capable of accommodating up to three times more passengers than the previous terminals. Additional boarding gates, some equipped with air bridges, have made it quicker and easier for passengers to board and disembark aircraft.
ACSA has now turned its attention to the domestic terminals and recently completed a R10 million interim expansion of the domestic departure terminal. This will ease congestion until the R300 million, three-year upgrade is completed in 2006. Ultimately the new domestic terminals will be linked to the international terminals via a central passenger check-in and flight connections centre.
Airside infrastructure is also being expanded and new parking aprons able to accommodate six narrow-bodied or three wide-bodied aircraft will be operational by mid-2004.
By 2015 two mid-field satellite terminals will provide sufficient aircraft parking to enable the airport to handle the expected passenger volumes. These new terminals will be situated opposite the existing terminals and linked by underground passages, equipped with travellators.
To prevent congestion in the air and provide sufficient take-off and landing slots at peak times, a second runway is planned. This R200-million project is part of the mid-field construction programme. Kalawe, who also heads the Cape’s newly constituted Destination Marketing Organisation, added that development was not restricted to the terminal buildings and airside infrastructure.
“A busy airport is good news for the regional economy, but can be very frustrating for people who can’t find parking near the terminals. We’ve found space for an additional 500 parking bays and have submitted a proposal for a multi-storey car park that will provide 2 000 bays by 2005 and can later be extended as demand increases.”
Already considered South Africa’s tourism gateway, Cape Town International has also been recognised in the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Global Monitor, which named it the best airport of its size in the world.
Between January and June Cape Town was rated the best of 17 other airports handling less than 15 million passengers per annum including Athens, Vienna, Nice and Geneva. Kalawe said that despite the accolade ACSA was not resting on its laurels and has since initiated an intensive quality project to set performance benchmarks for all airport service providers.“If Cape Town is to be a premium tourism destination, it must have a premium airport.”
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