Durban airport gets the finishing touches

Posted On Thursday, 15 October 2009 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Work on Durban’s new R7bn international airport is well on track with 80% of the project completed and just the 'lipstick' left to apply.

King Shaka intWORK on Durban’s new R7bn international airport was well on track with 80% of the project completed and just the “lipstick” left to apply, Airports Company SA (Acsa) project leader Sean van der Valk said yesterday.

Van der Valk was speaking at a ceremony attended by Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele, KwaZuluNatal transport MEC Willies Mchunu and local and foreign dignitaries.

The project has been run to a very tight schedule since the sod turning ceremony took place in October 2007.

The cost of the airport was initially estimated to be R1,6bn but has risen over the years as the stakeholders realised that there was little point in building a new airport the same size as the existing one, whose passenger numbers have been growing at 17% annually and which would need to be expanded to accommodate further growth.

One of the drawbacks of the existing airport is that its runway is only 2,4km long, and there is no room for expansion, which means large, modern aircraft cannot land there. The runway of the new airport is 3,7km long and 60m wide, providing ample landing and parking space for the largest aircraft in the world.

The terminal was designed to handle 7,5-million passengers a year, compared with the existing airport’s capacity of 4,7-million.

But Duncan Berry, projects director of the Ilembe consortium, which was awarded the contract to build the airport, said a 50-year view had been taken, which would enable the airport to expand in modules to cater for 45-million passengers by 2060.

“There will even be space for a train to come into the airport,” Berry said.

Van der Valk said 25% of the iconic terminal building would be ready by the middle of December so that Acsa could start trial operations.

The “big step now” was to move away from construction to familiarisation, and to testing and training of staff, as the airport prepared for its first flight in May next year, he said.

The airport has created 8000 construction jobs and Ndebele said 270000 direct and indirect jobs would have been completed when the project became operational next year.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 31 October 2013 10:50

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