King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) is in full swing with preparations to process thousands of delegates and VIPs that will use the airport during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) from 28 November to 9 December 2011. KSIA is expecting over 20 000 delegates and a few heads of states during the conference and is working closely with all departments and government agencies to ensure that all arrival and departure procedures are properly planned and systematically implemented.
“Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has been hard at work in partnership with key role players, to ensure the airport’s preparedness for the COP17 Conference. The airport is finalising its plans and is working with conference organisers and airlines to ensure that delegates are properly catered for on arrival and departure at KSIA,” says Bongiwe Pityi, Assistant General Manager: Airport Operations.
In preparation for the conference, ACSA has launched the Airport Management Centre (AMC) at KSIA that allows all relevant departments, service provider and agencies to be in one room to make collective decisions as situations arise during this period. “The AMC has been tried and tested and is fully operational at OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports. It is a collaborative approach to aircraft turn around, aircraft diversions, ground stop times, slot co-ordination and ground or airspace allocation and leaves little room for error as it allows the airport operations to speak with one voice,” says Bongiwe Pityi.
In addition to the AMC, KSIA will implement a special Transport Operational Plan that will see certain temporary changes at the pick-up and drop off zones from 14 November to 14 December 2011. Airport users will be directed to park and wait for passengers in the multi-storey parkade or shaded parking area where 30 minutes free parking will be made available. This will ensure that the public is redirected to alternative convenient parking whilst delegates are facilitated in a current pick-up area.
The Airports Company South Africa team is closely monitoring aircraft parking capacity at King Shaka International Airport and is confident that the current capacity will be adequate during COP17. Given the predicted number of flights, and with diligent aircraft slot management, parking for all scheduled and private aircraft should be sufficient during this period.
“Due to the large number of people we are expecting to be arriving and departing through the airport, we are asking airport users to arrive earlier than normal for their flights during this time. Sufficient directional signage will be in place at strategic areas on the approach roads and within the airport precinct. During this busy period airport staff will be on hand to assist the general public and passengers with any airport related they queries that may have,” says Bongiwe Pityi, Assistant General Manager.
Airports Company South Africa’s capabilities will be tested during this busy period and it is only through cooperation with the public that inconveniences will be kept to a minimum. “We are appealing to the public to look out for Metro Police, SAPS and parking attendants who will be patrolling the airport precinct and directing people to the alternative parking areas. Together we will make this event a success for Durban and make our country proud,” concludes Pityi.