The Cape Winelands Airport, as it is now known, is an ex-South African Air Force airfield operating privately as a general flying airfield. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)
The Cape Winelands Airport, as it is now known, is an ex-South African Air Force airfield operating privately as a general flying airfield. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Divided opinions over proposed 'Lanseria of Cape Town'

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Mar 12, 2021

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Cape Town - Opinion is divided over the issue of a proposed second commercial airport for Cape Town that is planned at the site of the former Fisantekraal Airfield in the semi-rural residential northern suburb of Durbanville.

The Cape Winelands Airport, as it is now known, is an ex-South African Air Force airfield operating privately as a general flying airfield. It is also, according to its new owners who acquired the property in November 2020, the preferred base for aviation training in the Cape Town region.

Businessman Rob Hersov, 60, who co-owns the airport with Nick Ferguson, recently told an interviewer on BizNews Power Hour that he has set his sights on building the "Lanseria of Cape Town”.

Among those asking questions is Good secretary-general Brett Herron said: “There are lots of questions to be answered and the proposal is vague. It does worry me that we are getting excited about two fancy airports but we have no working trains and a poor bus systems. Two airports surrounded by misery, indignity and shacks.”

Herron said: “The proposal carries significant risk for the residents of the city and the city and provincial governments. These risks are financial and the potential diversion of resources to provide the supporting infrastructure a commercial airport would need like access roads, transportation and bulk services.”

He said: “The concern from an economic perspective is that Cape Town International is battling now to sustain itself, and has its own plans to expand capacity with an additional runway, and the businesses in and around the area are struggling to survive due to the lack of trade and investment coming into Cape Town. What is another airport going to do to this?”

Meanwhile, Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF) chairperson Deon van Zyl said before the project gets off the ground, it will need lots of approvals on many fronts.

Van Zyl said: “An investment of this nature will no doubt also require international funding.”

“As an industry we will always be very supportive of catalytic projects that attract investment from beyond South African borders. It will go a long way to do for these nodes what the Cape Town International Airport currently delivers to the city of Cape Town,” said Van Zyl.

Century 21 estate agent Megan Petersen said: “Immediate properties within the flight path of the vicinity may be impacted, but then again they always knew they were near an airport.”

She said: “The immediate areas would be affected by noise pollution but, the pros far exceed the cons for property, investors and business in general as Cape Town becomes an even more viable and attractive option.”

“Truth is this won’t only have a positive effect for properties and values in Durbanville but surrounding areas too,” said Petersen.

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jacques Moolman said: “In the end, everything will depend on the number of customers a new airport will attract and whether it can make money.”

Moolman said: “It will not be cheap to construct a modern terminal to satisfy the expectations of the kind of passengers it presumably is aimed at.”

He said: “We, of course, welcome an infrastructure construction project for the employment opportunities it will offer and the injection of money it may bring to our region. If it works post-Covid, it can only be a welcome boost for tourism to the region. Opportunities for other businesses attracted in its wake are also likely.”

Meanwhile, the City said in a statement that no application to expand the airfield into a commercial airport has been submitted yet but that a pre-submission meeting has been scheduled for the coming week.

Asked whether area residents had been given a chance to share their views on the airport, the City said: “As no application has been submitted, no public consultation has taken place as yet.”

Cape Argus

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