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Terminal opening marks culmination of R250 million airport upgrade
Thursday, February 20, 2003 | 00:00

Cape Town International Airport today (26 February) celebrated the culmination of a four-year, R250 million project to upgrade and expand all its international terminals

The official opening of the new R120 million International Departure Terminal, by Public Enterprises and acting Transport Minister, Jeff Radebe, marked the final phase of an extensive overhaul, which will enable the airport to meet projected international passenger growth until 2010.

Speaking at the opening, Cape Town International General Manager, Monwabisi Kalawe, said that international visitor arrivals had nearly doubled in the past ten months, from some 33 400 in April 2002 to nearly 60 500 in January this year.

"But this expansion project is about more than just investing in infrastructure so we can handle current and future demand. Above all it is about ensuring that every visitor's initial and lasting impression of Cape Town is favourable."

The new International Departures Terminal is capable of accommodating up to 1 300 passengers in peak hours, or a million passengers a year; three times that of the previous departure terminal.

It is built on three levels, with the ground floor housing public areas, ticket counters, check-in desks and an additional baggage handling area. There are now 68 check-in counters, 26 more than before, as well as larger VAT reclaim and customs declaration areas.

The mezzanine level is where security checks and immigration formalities are carried out. The number of passport control desks has been more than doubled from six to 14.

The vast first floor departure hall covers some 10 000 m2, with large floor to ceiling windows providing a view of the airfield and the Hottentots Holland mountain range.

It boasts 10 boarding gates, compared with the previous three. Six are ground level gates from where passengers are bussed to aircraft. The remaining four will be equipped with boarding bridges leading directly to the aircraft, with the first of these being installed by June 2003.

The departure hall includes 2 360 m2 of retail space housing 13 shops and three airline lounges. There is also a smokers' lounge, run by British American Tobacco.

Neither the International Arrival nor Departure Terminals were closed at any stage during the upgrade and expansion programme.

Monhla Hlahla, ACSA CEO, said Cape Town International was on track to exceed the five million-passenger mark by the financial year-end in March 2003. This was an increase of a million passengers in six years or some 166 000 a year.

She added that Cape Town International has won the Best Airport in Africa Award at the World Travel Awards for the past five years. The airport was also named Airport of the Year by African Aviation magazine in 2002.

"I'm confident that with the completion of the new international terminals, Cape Town will romp home as the winner for the sixth successive year at the 10th World Travel Awards in New York this October."

The next phase of the airport's infrastructure development programme is upgrading and expanding the domestic terminals. Preparatory work has started and the second phase will begin after the Cricket World Cup.


Cape Town International Airport - International Departure Terminal

Facts & figures

1. The new R120 million International Departures Terminal provides sufficient capacity to meet projected demand until 2010.

Now                                                                    Then
1 300 peak hour passengers                             750 peak hour passengers
68 check-in desks                                              42 check-in desks
14 passport control desks                                 Six passport control desks
10 boarding gates                                              Three boarding gates

Total area: 21 000m2.

Departure hall area (first floor): 10 000 m2.

Retail space: 2 360 m2, accommodating 13 shops.

Airline lounges: 1 700 m2, accommodating three departure lounges for British Airways, South African and Rennies.

Ground floor

1. The International Departures Terminal has been designed on three levels. The ground floor houses:

  • Public areas, including larger, upgraded ablution facilities;
  • Ticket counters;
  • Check-in facilities;
  • Additional baggage handling facility;
  • VAT reclaim;
  • Customs declaration.

Mezzanine level

1. This area accommodates the security checkpoints, passport control (immigration) and additional airline offices.

First floor

1. This vast 10 000 m2 area houses the departure hall. Large floor to ceiling windows provide an uninterrupted view of the airfield, with the Hottentots Holland Mountain range in the background.

2. Key features include:

  • 13 retail facilities, including duty free shops, book stores, curio and craft shops and food and beverage outlets;
  • Three airline lounges;
  • Some 6 000m2 of public and seating areas;
  • A smokers' lounge, run by British American Tobacco;
  • Ten boarding gates. Four of these will be fitted with passenger boarding bridges leading directly to the aircraft. The first two boarding bridges will be operational by June 2003;
  • All servicing, including deliveries and refuse removal, takes place via service corridor behind the shops.

Construction programme

1. Planning consultants were appointed in October 2002 and the construction tender was awarded in September 2001. The first phase was completed in August 2002, with all the major second-phase construction completed on schedule by January 2003.


1. Some 30 direct and trade package tenders were awarded, with a strong emphasis on empowerment. The main contractor, a joint venture between Murray & Roberts and RR Roberts Construction, tendered a participation goal of 70% and achieved 73,6%. ACSA's target for contractors was 50%.

2. A programme of student in-service training saw 10 technikon students complete training with both consultants and contractors. Some of these students have since been offered bursaries or employment by the contractors. 

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