Fri Oct 21 17:05:00 SAST 2016

Airports ready to handle Cup crowds , teams

By Penwell Dlamini | May 26, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE OR Tambo International Airport is ready to welcome thousands of visitors and soccer teams to the world's biggest sporting event which starts in 15 days.

Police say they are also ready for any eventualities.

The real test for the airport begins today with the arrival of the Australian soccer team - the Socceroos - who touch down this morning.

Australian high commissioner Ann Harrap told Sowetan that the 42-member Aussie entourage was made up of players and the technical staff.

"About 200 family members of the players will join them at a later stage," she said.

"We will not be bringing any security personnel with us. We'll rely on the South African Police Service, which we trust will do a good job."

Tebogo Mekgoe, assistant general manager at OR Tambo said: "A facility has been set up to process the teams so that they are not part of the public processing system. Fifa's media people will be responsible for all conferences for the media when they arrive."

Also arriving this week is Brazil, who land here tomorrow, Denmark on Saturday and Argentina on Sunday.

Mekgoe said the Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport in Durban were also ready for arrivals.

"Temporary structures have been set up in the Port Elizabeth International Airport and Bloemfontein International Airport to meet the demands of the influx of passengers," he said.

He said the big task would be on handling an estimated 4 000 passengers an hour during peak time at OR Tambo.

Peak hours will run from 16 to 18 hours a day.

"Three years ago it took us 25 minutes to process a passenger through immigration.

"We have now reduced that time to eight minutes. The waiting period for security processing was nine minutes. This has improved to an average of three minutes," he said.

He said during the tournament people coming to pick or drop passengers will have to park their cars in the parking base because the road used for this will be utilised by tour operators and coaches.

Chris Hlekane, general manager at the airport, said the airport received its electricity from three grids and had power generators which could run for up to five days after a power failure.

Lieutenant General Layton Tshabalala said the airport would be safe for all.

"We have 1000 trained police officers on a shift at the airport and we will have bomb disposal units and sniffer dogs available for any eventuality," Tshabalala said.


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