Cape Town airport to receive R5.5bn facelift
Cape Town International Airport will undergo a R5.5-billion facelift to deal with an increase in passengers and boost the number of flights to the city.
The airport has been awarded the best airport in Africa title for the third year in a row and has had a 22% growth in its international passengers, says Cape Town International Airport spokesperson Deidre Davids.
“On peak days in December, we processed as many as 35 000 to 39 000 passengers,” Davids said.
Three projects will be implemented: a realigned runway, and new facilities for domestic arrivals and in the international terminal.
The runway work is to cost R3.8bn, with construction beginning next year.
“The airport will realign the primary runway and construct parallel and rapid exit taxiways. The realigned primary runway will be 3500m in length and be built to international specifications,” said Davids.
The runway and “associated infrastructure” would allow for improved access to Cape Town and the Western Cape and “will enable growth of passenger and cargo traffic that is essential for tourism and economic activity,” she said.
The developments would improve access for larger aircraft with a wingspan of 65m or more, such as the Airbus A-380. The project would result in a 50% increase in aircraft landing and departures, she said. It was expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.
The new domestic arrivals project, at a cost of R650m, is to begin in 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2021.
“The highlight of this project will be the express route available to passengers who do not need to collect their bags. The size of the baggage hall will also increase.”
The international terminal project will cost R1bn and construction will start next year. It is expected to be completed in 2021.
“The project includes the expansion of the check-in area, the addition of two international specification baggage carousels and the reconfiguration of security, customs, passport control and international arrivals’ meeters and greeters,” she said.
“There are also other projects in the pipeline that will bring the total to R7bn.”
Even though the airport had plans to improve infrastructure to accommodate the expanding interest in the city and the province, Davids said the airport authorities were well aware of the current water crisis and the airport was playing its part to save and encourage water saving.
She said the airport was working towards become water self-sufficient “both for operational and construction related purposes”.
This included low-pressure flow taps, optimised air-conditioning plant procedures and grey-water re-use, she said.
Boreholes had been sunk around the airport grounds and a water purification plant established.
Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde said he welcomed the expansion projects at the airport as they would “go a long way towards helping us achieve our goal of growing tourism in the province”.
He added that tourism in the Western Cape sustained over 200 000 direct jobs.
Wesgro chief marketing officer Judy Lain agreed that the project was a huge boost towards growing tourism, but she said that all tourists to the city and the province needed to be mindful of the drought.
“We encourage our guests to live like a local and practice water-wise tourism. We are setting a new world-standard for how to respond to climate change, with best water practices being implemented by businesses and citizens alike. This is our new normal - reducing water consumption by nearly 60% in just three years.”
Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Janine Myburgh said the project should also stimulate trade within Africa, as many of destinations were inland and unsuitable for sea and road transportation.