Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) today proudly opens their new Aircraft Viewing Deck at O.R. Tambo International Airport.
The opening also heralds the launch of O.R. Tambo International Airport's upgraded educational tours programme.
Bongani Maseko, General Manager of O.R. Tambo International Airport, said he and his team were delighted to be able to offer the facility to the public.
O.R. Tambo International Airport, like all ACSA facilities, belongs to the people of South Africa so it is apt that we should be able to offer this window on our world,he said.
Maseko said the educational tours would offer learners an exciting insight into the world of aviation while still supporting existing learning frameworks.
The R4 million complex is located in the third floor of the international terminal of the airport's north wing. The Aircraft Viewing Deck offers views over O.R. Tambo International Airport's main operational area and a direct view over the main runway.
The facility itself also offers live flight displays and will, within the next two months, be equipped with a food and beverage outlet.
While many South Africans will have fond childhood memories of visiting O.R. Tambo International Airport in the past to view aircraft, ACSA wishes to expand the scope of this project, using it as an educational tool via school tours.
The educational tours will afford learners and teachers the opportunity to authentically experience the dynamics of an airport first-hand, rather than merely reading about it in a classroom.
In an effort to make the tours as inclusive as possible, exposing learners who might normally not have access to an airport, ACSA will not charge for the tours. The only costs incurred by the schools will be those normally applicable such as bus parking fees and permit costs for senior learners entering restricted areas.
ACSA has partnered with a number of its stakeholders to offer as diverse a view of O.R. Tambo International Airport as possible including Airport Sun Inter-Continental, Air Traffic Navigation Services, South African Airways, British Airways, and the aviation branch of the South African Weather Service.
The tours have also been made possible by the proactive and enthusiastic support ACSA has received from both the Gauteng and Ekurhuleni Departments of Education. The provincial and local departments have partnered with ACSA to ensure the tours conform and enhance existing curricula. Operational support, in extending the tours offer to schools, has also been forthcoming from the educational departments.
Four different tours, catering for different age groups are on offer, covering grades 1-3, grades 4-7, grades 8-9 and finally grades 10-12.
Schools wishing to find out more about the tours may call O.R. Tambo International Airport's school tours hotline on (011) 921 6326.