You can’t become a Lanseria-type airport overnight, says Cape Winelands Airport official
Cape Town - Reports of a second commercial airport being built in the semi-rural residential northern suburb of Durbanville have been slightly overstated, according to the Cape Winelands Airport, the company that acquired the former Fisantekraal Airfield.
African 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”.
Yesterday, the company’s finance and operations manager, Mark Wilkinson, said: “While there are indeed long term plans for growth, you can’t become a Lanseria-type airport overnight.
“We are currently serving as a general flying airfield, facilitating private aircraft services such as aviation training and our short-term goal is to serve markets such as tour operators, charters and private individuals with aircraft for whom Cape Town International Airport is too big.”
He said: “If you think of the little guys with small aircraft, those are the people we want to provide a base for. Small airline companies who don’t want to compete with the big airliners at Cape Town International.”
Meanwhile, the City said in a statement that no application to expand the airfield into a commercial airport had been submitted yet. However, a pre-submission meeting had been scheduled for the coming week.
Asked whether they support the plans the City said: “The City has to remain objective in assessing applications once submitted. Thus we cannot pre-empt an outcome to any application.”
On whether area residents had been consulted on the plans, the City said: “As no application has been submitted, no public consultation has taken place as yet.”
Speaking to the Argus, area resident Janine Tassi said: “Having an airport, a small one, in Durbanville would certainly boost the economy of our town, provide more employment and make travelling a lot more convenient for locals and wine valley residents.
“There are conflicting emotions and opinions, and who can blame us. It's only natural for the community to react when we don't have the hard facts in front of us or we can't see the actual outcome,” she said.
Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jacques Moolman said: “There is an element of risk in the proposal, as there is in all business ventures.”
Moolman said: “Potential issues we are sure the proposers have anticipated are the reactions of local environmentalists, the kind of regulatory hurdles to be overcome and, last but not least, the possibility that some people in Durbanville may not take too kindly to the prospect of jet aircraft flying at the low approach and take-off altitudes above their homes.”
Western Cape Property Development Forum chairperson Deon van Zyl said: “We are extremely excited about what the investment would mean for the Western Cape economy. In particular, because of its location close to the Winelands, it would deliver added economic value to important Western Cape nodes such as Paarl and Wellington, and all along the West Coast.”