All set for takoff

2010-04-17 00:00

IN the event that you park your car at Durban International Airport and fly out on April 30 — only to find upon your return to KZN that you have arrived at a new airport in La Mercy and do not have a lift to your car at the old airport — help is at hand.

The new King Shaka International Airport opens on May 1, and airport authorities have encouraged travellers not to park at the “old” Durban International Airport (DIA) from tomorrow.

“We encourage them to be dropped off instead,” said Terence Delomoney, general manager of the King Shaka International Airport.

However, the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) confirmed that it will offer a free shuttle service for travellers who arrive at the new airport during the first week of May and need transport to the DIA to fetch their cars. Travellers should keep their parking tickets from the old airport handy upon arrival at the new airport.

Those who have extra time to spare at the airport will be able to shop at more than 20 retail outlets in the arrivals and departures sections alone, including Woolworths, Vodacom, MTN, Jeep, Nike, Exclusive Books, Quicksilver, Wimpy and Fego Caffé.

The terminal building will also house a variety of restaurants, including Mugg & Bean, News Café, Spur, Milky Lane and KFC.

The new airport at La Mercy is almost complete and a group of more than 1 100 KZN residents were able to test the readiness of the new facility.

About 800 members of the public and 300 staff members participated in the exercise, which encompassed ticket sales, check-ins, baggage handling and other key operational activities.

The average travelling time from Pietermaritzburg to La Mercy is about an hour and 20 minutes — slightly longer for inland travellers than the current travelling time between Pietermaritzburg and the old airport, which dates back to the 1950s and the advent of large aircraft.

The new airport is about 50 km north of the current airport.

From May 1, the new airport will be accessible from the N2 highway. This is the easiest route for most travellers. “When leaving the airport via the N2 South, a new toll plaza will be encountered. When taking the N2 north, a toll is payable at the existing Tongaat toll plaza, north of the airport,” said Acsa.

Travellers can also reach the airport via the R102.

King Shaka International Airport will have a capacity of 7,5 million passengers per annum and boasts a 3,7 km runway, compared with the 2,3 km runway at the old airport.

It will also be able to accommodate the giant Airbus 380 aircraft.

“What has happened in the past 13 months [of construction] is amazing. Closing the old airport will be a hugely emotional thing. A lot of airport staff will be working at the new airport in the next two weeks. A lot of people [Acsa staff] from across the country will be working here and in Durban International.

“ We will be pooling our resources from everywhere,” said Delomoney.

Runway: 3,7 km (old airport: 2,4 km)

Aircraft parking bays: 34 (23)

Air bridges: 16 (none)

Passenger capacity: 7,5 million (4,4 million)

Check-in counters: 72 (52)

Self-service counters: 18 (4)

Passenger terminal building floor area: 102 000 m2 (30 000 m2)

Retail space: 6 500 m2 (2 900 m2)

Public parking bays: 6 500 (2 490)

Multi-storey parking:

15 to 30 mins – R6

31 to 60 mins – R10

1 to 2 hrs – R20

2 to 3 hrs – R25

3 to 4 hrs – R30

4 to 5 hrs – R55

Shaded Parking:

0 to 1hr – R12

1 to 2hrs – R15

2 to 3 hrs – R20

3 to 4 hrs – R25

4 to 6 hrs – R35

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