Racing against 2010 clock to finish airport upgrade

The OR Tambo International Airport is on track to complete its crucial R3,5billion infrastructure development, currently under way, ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup South Africa.

The OR Tambo International Airport is on track to complete its crucial R3,5billion infrastructure development, currently under way, ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup South Africa.

The infrastructure is required to accommodate the expected influx of passenger and aircraft traffic and to make operations at Africa's largest airport moreefficient ahead of the soccer spectacular.

Briefing the media yesterday on the latest developments at the airport, general manager Chris Hlekane said that passenger numbers increased from more than 12million to more than 17million between 2002 and last year. Air traffic movement increased from more than 175000 to more than 200000 during the same period, he said.

To ease pressure on the airport, the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has em-barked on a number of infrastructure development projects. These include the construction of the main central terminal building, the development of the international pier, the building of a multi-storey car parkade, the development of road infra-structure and the creation of a link to the multibillion-rand Gautrain station.

On the security front, Acsa has upgraded technology to ensure detection of security violations and follow-ups to security breaches. The company has also upgraded lighting and procedures, and has taken a proactive approach to baggage theft.

The airport has identified hot spots, appointed a baggage make-up manager and is interacting with airlines and ground handlers to monitor and share information when cases of baggage theft occur.

"The baggage make-up manager would look at the risk of baggage theft; how frequently such cases occurred and then liaise with airliners to help to find ways to reduce such incidences," Hlekane commented. - BuaNews

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