1 September 2005
South Africa’s national and international airports will be ready for the influx of visitors expected in South Africa for the 2010 Soccer World Cup long before the first game kicks off.
This was the assurance given by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) managing director Monhla Hlahla at Tuesday’s release of the company’s financial results for the year to end March 2005.
Hlahla announced a capital expenditure budget of R5.2-billion to be spent over five years to accommodate the 2010 soccer World Cup. Work has already started.
She said that almost half a billion rand had already been invested, primarily at the country’s three international airports, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
“This investment will increase significantly in the current financial year to R1.2-billion, and planned capital expenditure for 2005 to 2009 is R5.2-billion.
“This will obviously include facility upgrades that are essential for 2010 but will largely be used to maintain world-class standards in aviation and tourism long after the curtain comes down on World Cup 2010,” she added.
Hlahla, who was recently named South Africa’s businesswoman of the year, said that much of the infrastructural upgrade had been planned “long before South Africa won the rights to host the World Cup.
“The awarding of the tournament to South Africa, however, has meant an acceleration and bringing forward of capital expenditure programmes planned for future regulatory cycles beyond 2010.”
Hlahla said the experience of previous hosts indicated that the event would attract increased numbers of regional foreign visitors, not only during the weeks of the event itself but also in the months and years leading up to 2010.
“Not only will Acsa airports have to be equipped to cope with the increased traffic demands, but they will also have to take account of future and long-term infrastructure requirements which go beyond the Soccer World Cup,” she said. “Our plans are built around long-term requirements and not specifically for the World Cup event.”
Johannesburg International Airport will be the beneficiary of the bulk of the infrastructure upgrade.
The airport’s central terminal development is being brought forward by two years and will cost an estimated R1.6-billion. This facility will also include a terminus for the Gautrain, a high-speed train which is to link the airport to Johannesburg, Sandton and Pretoria. Construction on the Gautrain is due to start in 2006.
Other construction planned for the airport includes two multi-story parkades, additional aircraft parking aprons, and facilities for the new Airbus A380.
The A380, which will carry up to 800 passengers is expected to be operating on the Johannesburg route by 2008.
Cape Town and Durban International Airports will also be receiving upgrades to their terminals, parking and aircraft facilities.
Upgrades and new facilities will not be limited to the international airports. A sum of R132-million will be invested in refurbishments at the national airports over the next five years, with provision for temporary facilities during the tournament itself.
“Our goal is to have all development projects complete by 2010, so that there are no open construction sites at our facilities when the World Cup tournament is on,” Hlahla said.