King Shaka International Airport connected over 5 million passengers last year. picture: Supplied.

A man lugs his bag hastily to the boarding gate, hoping that the cabin crew does not close the doors to the plane. Elsewhere, a family enjoys a meal with their 20 something-year-old, who is embarking on a “soul searching” trip to Europe for a month. Over a thousand more people are preparing to depart somewhere exotic, their hearts beating with excitement.

These are typical scenes of encounters that happen at an airport, a place that unites people and sets others on adventures. But, there are also many people behind the scenes who make sure that the operation runs smoothly. Case in point: King Shaka International Airport in KwaZulu-Natal.

King Shaka International Airport General Manager, Terence Delomoney, said they were in the process of reconfiguring the retail space, which will open in two months.

Currently one of Africa’s leading airports, the airport connected over 5 million travellers last year. There will be 3 new stores and 3 kiosks as well as free wifi services. There is also a range of franchise restaurants spread throughout the airport.

“We are trying to do our best to enhance the experiences for travellers. The airport will open a new lounge in the domestic terminal, and we will intensify our technological side of the business,” he said.   

Delomoney said they were in discussions with the provincial department of transport and eThekwini for better public transport for staff and travellers to the city. He also revealed their plans to create two additional parking facilities for long haul aeroplanes. The project is expected to be complete by mid-2020.

“Being a diversion airport for OR Tambo International and the need for space for long haul aircrafts has prompted the decision for new parking facilities. We also plan to extend our “taxiway” which is the space between the aircraft parking and the runway,” he said.

And their biggest goal for the new year? “We want to focus on growing our current airlines and drive traffic growth.”

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