Airports almost ready says ACSA

ALL SYSTEMS GO: Chris Hlekane, general manager at OR Tambo International. Pic. Vathiswa Ruselo. 02/03/2010. © Sowetan.
ALL SYSTEMS GO: Chris Hlekane, general manager at OR Tambo International. Pic. Vathiswa Ruselo. 02/03/2010. © Sowetan.

THE Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) says it is ready for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Acsa's announcement yesterday coincided with the country's 100 days before kickoff on June 11.

Chris Hlekane, general manager at OR Tambo International, told journalists that about R17billion had been spent on upgrading the country's airports. As the main entry point, OR Tambo was the centre of scrutiny because Gauteng will host most of the games.

"We are standing at 90percent completion of our upgrades at all the airports," Hlekane said.

He said OR Tambo's upgrade cost R2,2billion. Simulations of how passengers would move in the airports were being done now.

"The main focus has been on the runways, terminals, parking and fuel tanks, which we have been able to successfully upgrade.

"We have created a special arrival structure that the soccer teams will use. There is a viewing area where fans will be able to see their stars," Hlekane said.

This system had been rolled out at all the airports but its size would depend on the volume of passengers each airport handles. At OR Tambo, space has been allocated for more than 100 buses to reduce traffic congestion.

Hlekane said 450000 visitors were expected for the 2010 World Cup.

"This figure only applies to the first few days and then these passengers will take domestic flights as they follow their teams around the country," he said.

Jason Tshabalala, head of security at OR Tambo, said 3000 surveillance cameras had been installed to ensure passenger safety.

"We have communicated with all airlines to put up control measures for baggage systems to eliminate people losing personal belongings."

Cape Town International is almost complete with minor work outstanding on the arrival terminals and the integration of public transport with the airport.

Durban's King Shaka International still needed more work but would be ready by May.

"Construction of the N2 interchange link to the airport is under way and removal of infrastructure from the previous Durban International Airport to the new one is on," Hlekane said.

He said Durban's old airport would close by the end of April. Upington Airport in Northern Cape will be ready by the end of April while Bloemfontein International is almost complete.