Tuesday, April 20, 2010

O.R. Tambo Airport Upgrade - a Sign of Things to Come

From Airports Company of South Africa:

President Jacob Zuma today officially opened the new Central Terminal Building (CTB) at O.R. Tambo International Airport. The revamp of Africa's biggest and busiest international airport under the management of Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) saw the completion of the CTB at a cost of R2,2 billion.

"The construction of this facility placed emphasis on the creation of spaces specially designed to ensure efficient and pleasant airport experiences for all our users," says Chris Hlekane, General Manager of O.R. Tambo International Airport. In addition to the CTB, other completed facilities at O.R. Tambo International Airport include the International Pier, international departures terminal upgrade, and the second multi-storey parkade with parking for 5 200 vehicles. There is now a total of 17 500 car parking bays on-and-off the airport precinct. In addition, there are seven new aircraft parking stands, bringing the total to 105, the Gautrain Rapid Rail link and added storage fuel tanks with a capacity of 60 million litres. Since 2006 the total investment is approximately R5 billion on all projects including the CTB.

"In less than 50 days the airport will serve as the gateway to South Africa for hundreds of thousands of 2010 FIFA World Cup fans and millions of future tourists. The upgraded facilities are the all-important first impression of not only O.R. Tambo International Airport, but also South Africa," says Hlekane. "It was therefore vital that we provide a world-class African airport with cutting-edge international transport facilitation abilities, technologies and design."

The upgrades undertaken were specifically designed to create lightness and openness in the terminal buildings, enabling passengers to quickly navigate and move between terminals. The revamp of O.R. Tambo International Airport means that the airport can now efficiently handle 28 million passengers a year. It has been an enormous undertaking that makes flying, both locally and internationally, an efficient, seamless and memorable experience. For this enhanced travel experience domestic passengers pay ACSA only R57 per departure.

"This is a significant and fitting end to 15 years of transformation and a lot of hard work and dedication," says ACSA Chairperson, Sindi Zilwa. "It is a tribute to the contributions of many people and an accolade to the memory of Oliver Reginald Tambo, one of the most important founding fathers of our new, democratic, South Africa. O.R. Tambo International and the other nine airports can compete proudly with the best facilities in the world, to market South Africa as a preferred destination for investment and tourism."

In addition to O.R. Tambo International Airport being ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, key airports in the ACSA network are fully prepared and ready to run 24 hours a day to ensure the smooth flow of operations. Cape Town International Airport has a new Central Terminal Building, a 400-vehicle multi-storey parkade, five new aircraft parking stands and greatly improved access roads. In Durban the newly-constructed King Shaka International airport, with the capacity to handle 7,5 million passengers per year, is ready to open on 1 May 2010. Port Elizabeth, Upington, Kimberley, East London and Bloemfontein have all undergone runway upgrades and terminal refurbishing and final sign-off will take place by May 2010.