Regional air hub being upgraded and expanded

Also included in the plan is the con-struction of a new cargo facil-ity to meet the “alarming growth rate” of just-in-time shipments into and out of the coun-try, said the airport’s GM, Chris Hlekane. The planned capital investment would be in addition to the R3 billion already allocated to upgrade the airport before the 2010 Soccer World Cup tour-nament to be held in South Africa. Hlekane said the new terminal build-ing, which would be con-structed in the current open space between two run-ways at the air-ports, would have its own domes-tic and international check-in facilities. Hlekane said the Johannesburg air-port currently handled 16,1 million pas-sengers a year, and that the number was projected to exceed 22 million by 2012. Airports Company SA (Acsa), which owns and manages Johannesburg International Airport and nine other major air-ports around the country, said in its 2004-05 annual report that its air-port network was expected to handle a combined total of 40-mil-lion passengers a year by 2010. Key projects that had been brought forward for the 2010 World Cup finalsincluded the con-struction of the R1,9 billion central terminal build-ing, which would link the current inter-national and domestic terminals. The central terminal would also include the train station for the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link. Runways, taxiways, and air bridges to accommodate the 555-seater double-decker jet A380 were currently being upgraded at a cost of R512 million. Two new multi-storey parkades with an additional 4 000 parking bays would also be built to cope with the increased traffic that came with the entrance of low-cost carrier airlines in the domes-tic market. Hlekane said security at the air-port had also been beefed up by erecting a 25km perimeter wall around the airport and also strengthening access control at the gates at total cost of R52,5 million. Acsa CEO Monhla Hlahla said recently that similar upgrading proj-ects were planned for the other nine airports as part of the parastatal’s R5,2 billion capital investment programme. ‘ Business Day “In the next two years our air-ports will be a major hive of activ-ity,” Hlahla said. Acsa’s expansion programme, together with other huge invest-ment programmes planned by power utility Eskom and transport group Transnet, could result in the three companies competing for the same scarce engi-neering expertise. The three parastatals have also planned to raise part of their expendi-ture from local and global markets. Eskom has a capital investment pro-gramme of R84 billion while Transnet plans to spend R40 billion. Acsa said last year that it would issue a R2 billion bond this year to fund part of its R5,2 billion capital expenditure programme. The remainder would come from its cash flows. – Business Day.

May 2006
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