R300m Mthatha runway will boost tourism – Ben Martins

2013-07-08 14:58

Minister of Transport Ben Martins officially opened the new runway at Mthatha airport today, promising a boost in tourism to the area.

The runway cost slightly more than R300 million and is part of a R465 million upgrade to the rural airport serving the OR Tambo district in the former homeland.

The total investment includes an amount of R55 million for a new airport building and control tower that is yet to be completed.

Martins said he is “100% sure” that the investment into the airport will lead to more tourists for the region.

He said the new airport will act as a catalyst for new investment in the area.

“There will be a focus on agriculture and tourism.”

Eastern Cape Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu said the new airport is part of government’s programme to correct the past neglect of former homelands.

“This project will enable government to unlock the economic growth potential of the region and the province. It will provide access to the Wild Coast and other historic heritage sites,” said Marawu.

The new airport will be the property of the Eastern Cape government.

Martins said it will be funded by the province and national government but will be managed by Airports Company of SA (Acsa).

Bongani Maseko, managing director of Acsa, confirmed that the Mthatha Airport does not belong to Acsa.

“The debt will not be financed by Acsa. We’re simply here as a partner to assist with the operations and running of the airport.”

» This story was updated to correct an error which was introduced during the subbing process. Marawu is MEC of transport and not education.

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