ABOUT 90percent of the R17billion upgrading at the OR Tambo International Airport for the 2010 Fifa World Cup has been completed.
Most of the remaining work will be completed this month and some in April, OR Tambo International Airport (Ortia) general manager Chris Hlekani said.
He said the remaining infrastructural work at Ortia was the completion of a multistorey parkade and two fuel tanks by the end of this month.
Also the completion of seven aircraft apron stands by next month.
After the upgrades the airport's central terminal building, which was completed in December, will have the capacity to handle about 28million passengers a year.
There will be 16500 parking bays, 105 aircraft stands and a jet fuel storage capacity of 60million litres.
Hlekani said all operational plans would be finalised by May 14. About 450000 passengers are expected to travel through the country's airports during the six-week tournament, that starts on June 11.
Acsa group manager for operations André Vermeulen said between 45 and 46 slots an hour were used at Ortia, and the company had already received applications from commercial and noncommercial airlines for an additional 120000 slots above the normal slots during June and July.
Hlekani said Acsa planned to operate on a 24-hour basis as per match schedules and was in the final stages of negotiations with the Department of Labour.
He said Acsa was also engaging with bus and taxi transport operations to finalise transport operations at airports for the event.
Hlekani said Acsa was busy training workers in customer care programmes that includes basic language training in Spanish, French, German and Italian.
Other airport upgrades
Acsa was also planning to establish a specific terminal for the exclusive use of the teams taking in the sporting event in one of the cargo areas of the airport.
The area will incorporate a public viewing area.
Hlekane noted that similar plans were being considered at the other airports around the country.
At Cape Town International Airport the central terminal will be completed by the end of this month, increasing capacity to 14million passengers a year.
Further, the completion of a multistorey parkade would boost parking to 8000 bays.
The construction of an additional five aircraft apron stands, to be completed next month, will result in the availability of 32 aircraft stands.
King Shaka International Airport, in KwaZulu-Natal, will start its commercial operation on May 1.
The airport will have the capacity to handle 7,5million passengers a year.
The upgrades of the Bloemfontein airport terminal were completed in December, while the East London terminal and Kimberley terminal will be completed by the end of this month.
The Upington airport terminal's upgrade will be completed next month.
The development of two temporary terminals at the Bloemfontein and at the Port Elizabeth airports will both be completed by May. The temporary buildings costing a collective R8,9million can each handle an additional 350 passengers an hour.
This will allow for the airports to overcome the capacity constraints in terms of handling the peak traffic during the early part of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
lAdditional reporting bywww.engineeringnews.com