DURBAN – OR Tambo International Airport, South Africa’s biggest and busiest port of entry, was named African Airport of the Year at this week’s Air Cargo Africa conference and exhibition. This was the fourth time the airport has won the award.
The Air Cargo Africa 2019 event in Ekurhuleni attracted more than 80 international exhibiting companies and more than 3 000 trade visitors from 60 countries including from 30 African nations.
The purpose of the annual Air Cargo Africa awards is to honour and recognise outstanding achievements by leading cargo logistics service providers. Airports and airlines on various factors including equipment, performance, information technology and customer service.
General Manager of the airport Ms Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana says the management and staff are humbled by the award which underscores their drive to boost cargo volumes.
"We are extremely proud to have been named African Airport of the Year over the past few years. Winning this award demonstrates our commitment to deliver the best infrastructure for our stakeholders. We look forward to continuing to strengthen trade and commerce in our region," said Pityi-Vokwana.
Conference hosts Messe München South Africa say this year’s event was attended by about 20 Chief Executives of global airlines and air cargo companies. Organisers say that what was particularly different this year was the level of attendance by senior executives which is an indication of growing interest in facilitating air cargo-based trade with Africa.
Pityi-Vokwana said that 82 percent of South Africa’s total air cargo volume of about 400 000 tons a year is routed through O. R. Tambo International Airport’s Western Precinct Cargo Terminal with 92 percent of the total being international cargo.
Most of the uplift capacity is provided by passenger airline networks that transport 70 percent of the total cargo in the belly of passenger flights. Freighter traffic generates 30 percent of the total volumes.
"The flow and destinations of air cargo are driven by the cargo community. Cargo airlines go where their customers are and the airline’s customers, the agents, decide on the routing. The local cargo community members are therefore essential to supporting the airport and its growth.
“Cargo plays a big role in the revenue stream of airlines. We continue to work hard to position the airport as a key player in the worldwide air cargo business with South Africa as the gateway for Sub-Saharan Africa and a turntable between South America, Australia and Asia," said Pityi-Vokwana.
"We pride ourselves on remaining focused on collaborating and supporting our stakeholders in the cargo value chain and it is really their hard work that made it possible for us to receive this award again," concluded Pityi-Vokwana.
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