Airshow ‘worth R5,5?mln cost’

2014-02-12 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Finance MEC Ina Cronjé said the Treasury Department’s decision to invest R5,5 million in the inaugural Land, Sea and Air Festival in Durban was grounded in hard economic reality.

“The big economic opportunities speak for themselves. All these hotels along the beachfront will be full, it brings money, it grows our economy,” she said at the launch on North Beach last week.

Cronjé added that events like this gave small traders the chance to sell their wares and provided the province the chance to market itself nationally and internationally. “When you are on the map, people come … they come as business tours, as sports tours, leisure tours, and they come as business people and as you start getting to know a place, you get interested in it and want to invest in it,” Cronjé said.

Brian Emmenis, of organisers Capital Sounds, added: “We are booking out hotels for visiting pilots and journalists will be coming in. We also have just general members of the public who want to come along and see.

“Aviation, next to football, around the world is the second biggest crowd pleaser, second biggest attraction, so we are hoping that we will get these people to come to the city and bolster the coffers.”

The festival also has the backing of the eThekwini Municipality, which has invested R2,5 million in the Land, Sea and Air Festival, and major companies.

Durban Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Andrew Layman said: “This initiative has the potential to add significantly to Durban’s events programme and will draw local supporters as well as visitors from outside the province.”

Another key aspect of the festival is the festival’s youth development programme. A total of 1 500 school pupils from the greater Durban area, all of whom must have excellent marks in maths and science, will take part in the programme.

Specialists in the field of aviation will be on hand to work with the pupils, including Captain Refilwe Ledwaba from the SAPS Airwing in Durban, who heads up SA Women in Aviation, and 15th Squadron from the South African Airforce.

Emmenis said the multi-million-rand investments by the KZN Treasury Department and the eThekwini Municipality meant that residents of the province would be able to enjoy Durban’s first ever Land, Sea and Air Festival for free.

An estimated 25 000 to 30 000 people are expected to come to the Durban beachfront on each day of the festival.

There will also be traditional airshow displays. Among those confirmed for the festival are the legendary SA Airforce Silver Falcons, the five Harvards of the Equestria Flying Lions, the Pitt Specials of the Goodyear Eagles and skydivers.

Adding another element to the festival, which will run from March 21 to 23, will be displays from the South African Navy, who are sending a frigate and submarine.

• To find out more visit or like the Facebook page/DurbanSkyGrandPrix.

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