Joburg eyes Lanseria ‘aerotropolis’

29 May 2009

Lanseria Airport to the north-west of Johannesburg has been selected by the city council as a prime candidate for expansion.

An article published on the city’s website this week states that a study conducted by the municipality, which looked into ways of accelerating local economic growth to 9% by 2014, also looked at Grand Central Airport in Midrand, but rejected it because of a shortage of land for development.

“Lanseria, on the other hand, was already operating as an international airport and there was enough land for development and for it to serve as an anchor for an airport city development,” writes Romaana Naidoo.

According to the city’s economic and industrial support programme manager, Lindokuhle Mkhumane, the municipality looked at various options on how to develop the airport, ranging from public-private partnerships to outright ownership.

The mayoral committee, agreed in principle on an operations model for the airport city with the municipality playing a facilitation role. The airport will be a private business; the land around it is owned by the municipality, and that is where the developments facilitation will take place.

“Major considerations for all these options include the ability to raise funds and the present owners’ willingness to expand,” the article states. “The feasibility reports indicate that the Lanseria expansion will require about R7-billion over the next 20 years.”

Aerotropolis

Expanding Lanseria to serve as an “aerotropolis” is a concept based on an economic strategy that includes non-noise sensitive manufacturing industries and others such as freight forwarding, aircraft maintenance, express couriers, warehousing, hotels and conference centres.

It also calls for diverse land use in the surrounding areas, reaching a radius of up to 30 kilometres. It integrates the aero zone and the surrounding area, which is residential with commercial space.

The requirements, according to the aerotropolis concept, include at least 4.5km of runways, an adequate control tower with air navigation facilities, and enough land for aircraft hangers and maintenance operations.

Other requirements include a large number of spaces for planes to park, a helipad, bulk utility services, and rescue and fire fighting facilities, which should be of international standards. Adequate facilities should be given for international and domestic passenger and cargo terminals, high-quality road accessibility, enough public transport services, and up to 20 000 car parking bays.

“A number of processes still need be undertaken regarding this economic development initiative, with the existing airport land owners and investors being the primary ones, as well as intergovernmental engagement,” the article states.

SAinfo reporter and the City of Johannesburg

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