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Our airports are ready
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 00:00

2010 FIFA World Cup is here. Our airports are ready.

With four (4) teams scheduled to arrive this week, Australia tomorrow at 18h30, Brazil on Thursday morning and Argentina and Denmark over the weekend, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) confirmed today that its airports, partners and staff are ready for the prestigious event. Sixteen (16) teams are expected to arrive next week with the last eleven (11) to arrive thereafter.

“Since the announcement in 2004 that South Africa would be hosting the World Cup, ACSA and its stakeholders have been hard at work behind the scenes getting the airports ready in terms of overall capacity and operational plans. Our aspiration was to have our airports construction free and our facilitation systems and procedures well refined. I can confidently say that we have achieved that,” said Tebogo Mekgoe, Assistant General Manager at O.R. Tambo International Airport and 2010 Project Lead.

Years of planning, construction and preparation have culminated in a countrywide network of world-class airports. With the recent seamless opening of the new King Shaka International Airport which signalled the completion of all infrastructure developments, South Africans can justifiably be proud that visitors from all over the world will realise that we are up there with the best.

Team Facilitation
The arrival of teams brings 2010 to life. The facilitation of teams does not fall under FIFA’s responsibility until 6 June 2010, meaning up to then ACSA will be extensively involved in team facilitation. From 7 June 2010 onwards, FIFA will take the lead role whilst ACSA will remain actively involved in ensuring the seamless facilitation of all teams.

ACSA has built a temporary facility at O.R. Tambo International Airport to process teams during the World Cup. Mekgoe said the facility was designed with full processing capacity for both international and local arrivals and departures. Additional resources have been trained to manage this facility with simulation exercises ensuring readiness.  It was constructed in line with national building standards and yesterday the Occupation Certificate was issued by the local authority.  Synergy with airlines, government agencies and all other stakeholders will ensure seamless processing. 

Passenger facilitation
As the hub, O.R. Tambo International Airport will be processing the majority of teams and passengers. For operational teams on the ground the primary yardstick to determine adequate capacity is the hourly processing of passengers. For example, the airport processes 2000 passengers an hour during normal peak hours, and during the World Cup this figure is will at least double.

According to Mekgoe, it is vital that our systems and facilitation procedures can handle this increase. Over time, we have improved on-time flight departures from 78 percent to 86 percent. Waiting time at Immigration has improved from 25 minutes to 8 minutes.  Security processing has improved to 2 minutes from 9, whilst the global benchmark is 10 minutes.

“It is these efficiencies that we have refined over the years, well ahead of the World Cup, that will not only enable us to facilitate the movement of additional passenger traffic seamlessly, but which will also give us the flexibility and freedom to adapt our plans during the World Cup,” Mekgoe added.

Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein International Airports will be experiencing passenger volumes that exceed normal infrastructure capacities.  To accommodate this responsibly, temporary terminal building facilities were created at both airports and will be operational from 1 June to handle the extra numbers.  Each of these temporary terminals is able to accommodate both arriving and departing passengers, with their maximum capacity being 350 passengers per hour.

Transport logistics
In order to accommodate the additional buses and taxis required to transport arriving passengers to their destinations, the lower roadway will be closed for normal traffic and the standard pick-up service. Members of the public who will need to collect passengers are advised to use normal parking areas. At present O.R. Tambo International Airport has 17,500 parking bays that motorists can choose from.  The current grace period of 15 minutes free parking has been extended to 30 minutes during the World Cup period. In addition, we encourage people to use our SMS line – 36848 – which provides updates on expected flight arrival and departure times. Simply sms “Parking” or the flight number, such as “SA321”, to this number for up-to-date information.

An integrated public transport plan has been agreed to, to ensure seamless transportation of passengers to and from the airport and stadia.  The opening of the Gautrain link between the airport and Sandton will most certainly alleviate pressure.  
The current industrial action at Transnet has not impacted on fuel supply at our airports. We have filled our tanks at O.R. Tambo International Airport, meaning we have nine days worth of fuel in stock. 75% of jet fuel at O.R. Tambo International Airport comes from the refinery in Sasolburg (NATREF) while 25% comes through rail tankers. As and when it is necessary jet fuel is injected through the multi-product pipeline from Durban.

The tanks are also full at Cape Town International Airport, meaning the airport has 7,5 days worth of  fuel in stock. The fuel is supplied via trucks from the Chevron refinery to the airport’s fuel farm on a daily basis.

At King Shaka International Airport, fuel is supplied via trucks from the refinery in Prospecton (SAPREF).  The airport has eight days of stock.

ACSA is monitoring the situation and is in contact with all industry players to ensure that we minimise the impact of the strike on fuel supply to our airports.

“We would like to appeal to the public for their cooperation and patience during this time as we prepare for an efficient traffic movement into and around the largest and busiest airport on the African continent,” said Mekgoe. “During this demanding period, we anticipate up to 50,000 people to be moving in and out of O.R. Tambo International Airport on a daily basis.  Despite this unprecedented demand, we intend to keep operations as seamless as possible for every airport user.” Mekgoe concluded.

For enquiries, please contact,
Unathi Batyashe-Fillis
Brand Communications Manager at O.R. Tambo International Airport on 011 921 6087/0798827307 or via email unathi.batyashe-fillis@airports.co.za.


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