The Airports Company of South Africa(Acsa) has reviewed the infrastructure and service requirements that the 2010 Soccer World Cup will place on smaller airports and was satisfied that these airports would be prepared but there would be an R80m rand expansion and refurbishment programme at four of these airports.
This was divulged by Transport Minister Jeff Radebe in reply to a question from the Democratic Alliance's Mpowele Swathe. "A 30 million rand expansion and refurbishment at George Airport, as well as the 18 million rand remodelling project at Bloemfontein Airport has commenced. Expansion projects are also in final planning stage for East London and Upington." He noted that these amounted to 30 million rand and 10 million rand respectively.
Earlier on Monday BuaNews, the government news agency, reported that Acsa has already made R3.5bn rand available for infrastructure investment in preparation of South Africa's hosting of the Cup. This would go towards the upgrading of the Big Three; the Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban international airports.
Meanwhile, Radebe noted that by 2010 all of the relevant smaller airports within the Acsa stable would have been upgraded in terms of Acsa's development programme over the next four years. These developments did not only provide for functional capacity, but had been planned taking aesthetics and convenience into account, he reported.
"With reference to non-Acsa airports, air traffic growth projections are used to determine required infrastructure improvements and expansions, and these are generally of a medium to long-term nature."
Radebe said: "I am informed that airports such as Polokwane, Lanseria, and Wonderboom have determined their needs and are either preparing or executing such improvements. It is generally felt that with specific reference to 2010, the issue will mainly be about optimising the use of existing infrastructure rather than providing additional infrastructure capacity.
"It is also important to note that the development plans for airports provide for organic and sustainable growth and not to only focus on once-off events, as the latter may result in the provision of excess capacity that might not be necessary after 2010. Any additional capacity required for 2010 over and above forecasted traffic growth, will thus be provided through event specific facilities, i.e. fitting out and use of hangers and marquee's at these airports. These facilities will, however, be provided to meet functional and aesthetics standards in line with this world class event." - Donwald Pressly