The project will involve extending the primary runway to 3 500m. Concerns were raised over the noise that a larger aircraft will have on surrounding areas. Picture: City of Cape Town
The project will involve extending the primary runway to 3 500m. Concerns were raised over the noise that a larger aircraft will have on surrounding areas. Picture: City of Cape Town

Cape Town International Airport's R3.8bn runway approved

By Jason Felix Time of article published Feb 2, 2018

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Cape Town - Cape Town International Airport has been given the green light for the construction of a R3.8 billion runway which will allow for some of the world's largest aircraft to land and take off.

The project, set to start next year, will involve extending the primary runway to 3 500m, which will allow for larger Code F aircraft such as the Airbus 380 to land safely.

Cape Town International Airport spokesperson Deidre Davids said: “The team has worked long and hard to get us to this point. We have gone out of our way to engage interested and affected parties and today we celebrate.

“We remain committed to being a responsible developer upholding all environmental and other requirements. Part of being a responsible developer is to be most mindful of the current water situation when we construct.”

The airport will realign the primary runway and construct parallel and rapid exit taxiways.

“The new runway and associated infrastructure will facilitate greater air access into Cape Town and the Western Cape and will enable growth of passenger and cargo traffic that is essential for tourism and economic activity. The developments will improve access for larger aircraft with a wingspan of 65m or more, such as the Airbus A-380,” she said.

The realignment will mean flight paths will be realigned 11.5 degrees anti-clockwise along the runway, directly affecting the amount of noise experienced in areas such as Edgemead, Bothasig, Bellville and Parow.

Davids said there was only one objection from residents of Edgemead.

In response to concerns raised by Edgemead residents to the draft environmental impact assessment (EIA) in 2015, environmentalists noted in the final EIA report that while the area would experience a higher number of flights overhead and thus an associated increase in the noise levels currently experienced, other areas such as Philippi East, Woodlands, Mitchells Plain and Tafelsig would experience less noise.

A height restriction of 304.8m applies over residential areas, except where residential areas occur in the direct flight path on approach or take-off.

The report noted that with predicted excess noise in residential areas up to 15km from the airport, a significant number of people may experience impacts on their quality of life. Others will experience reduced noise levels, which may improve quality of life, the report said.

To mitigate the effects of noise pollution, environmentalists advise noise contours be revised every five years to account for changed policies, improved technologies, altered flight paths and schedules.

“Currently the runway is too close to the terminal building. By realigning it, we move it further away and will be in a position to expand the terminal infrastructure as well,” Davids said.

Jerome Daniels, community leader in Blikkiesdorp, said they welcomed the news.

“This is a win for all of us. The airport gets its runway, we are going to be moved and there will be new job opportunities which we will apply for at the construction site (of the airport). What was good for me, was that Acsa listened to us,” he said.

The realignment of the runway would allow for more aircraft parking, terminal and cargo development.

The existing runway is able to accommodate up to 30 aircraft landing or departing every hour, but now processes about 25.

Construction is expected to take 24 to 30 months to complete, with 200 direct temporary jobs being created. Between 900 and 3 200 people will be newly and directly employed by Acsa in the long term.

@JasonFelix

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Cape Argus

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