Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance in Western Cape province says it will raise its concerns with the department of home affairs about the diminishing number of immigration officials employed at Cape Town International Airport (CTIA).

The airport said on Wednesday that it loses R25 million in duty-free shopping because international visitors spend close to two hours moving through passport control.

Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for the Western Cape and its capital Cape Town, said the number of immigration officers available for duty at CTIA counters had decreased from 82 to 68 despite 750 000 more inbound flight seats to the airport since 2015.

The home affairs department only opens five counters out of 18 during peak hours to process on average 35,000 passengers per day, resulting in an immense bottleneck at passport control, which delays passengers and cripples airport activity, said DA spokesperson on tourism in the Western Cape Beverley Schäfer.

"I will be writing to the Western Cape minister of economic opportunities, tourism, and agriculture,  Alan Winde, to engage with National Treasury over concerns surrounding the diminishing number of home affairs officials employed at the CTIA when the growth of Cape Town air access is expected to secure 150,000 more international inbound seats from 3 new flight routes in 2018 alone," Schäfer said.

African News Agency/ANA