On Wednesday 16th December 2009, while we celebrated the Day of Reconciliation, the team at the new airport at La Mercy reached another significant milestone, taking us closer to delivering the project on time in May 2010.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in conjunction with Airports Company South Africa, SAAB (navigational aids installer) Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), CMBK, Edison, Siemens and ILembe conducted the calibration tests of the runway lights and navigational aids. It was surreal to see an aircraft hovering over the runway when the CAA used their Cessna Citation aircraft to conduct the tests. The test flight essentially verifies the flight procedures that have been designed for the new airport and calibrates the electronic and visual navigational aids that were already installed as part of the project.
It was certainly a proud moment as the tests were conducted one month earlier that programmed and that is a real achievement for the teams and organisations involved. The entire process was required to be completed this early as it is a requirement for the timeous publication of the relevant airport data which has to be completed 3 months ahead of the airport opening.
This milestone was once again a huge team effort and even though the team had to deal with recent extreme weather conditions, they managed to complete the test successfully. It was pleasing to witness the co-operation and liaison between the various stakeholders to collectively plan and remove any obstacles to reach this milestone. Some of the personalities who brought together their expertise and leadership and helped to achieve this milestone include Sanjeev Gareeb (ACSA), Billy Viljoen (SAAB), Henri Lloyd (ATNS) and Jon Hall.