Increase in PMB airport users

2012-04-11 00:00

THE number of people using the Pietermaritzburg Airport (Oribi) has doubled since recent renovations there.

Clive Coetzee, KZN Treasury’s general manager: infrastructure management and economic services, told the executive committee that before the 2010 upgrading of the airport the number of passengers using the service stood at 4 500 a month. But within a year of the upgrade the number has doubled to 9 000 a month.

He said after these changes talk of the airport moving to Camperdown falls away.

“If there is a need to expand the airport then we will acquire the land that is next to the airport belonging to UKZN,” the council was told.

Coetzee also said there was no need for them to shut down the airport to make way for a bigger one because their research shows that it would not be sustainable to have two big international airports within close proximity of each other.

He told council that to generate revenue for the small airports in the province they have looked into hosting airshows and the revenue will go towards improving conditions at the airports.

They have identified six airports, namely Virginia in Durban, Newcastle, Pietermaritzburg, Ulundi, Margate and Richard’s Bay to promote aviation in the province.

Coetzee said the KZN Treasury is (or is in the process of) investing R86 million in three regional airports.

The other three have submitted funding proposals for consideration, he said.

He said investing more in these airports will be linking air travel and air logistics in the province and added that air shows will promote and showcase the six regional airports and the KZN government investment.

Visitor numbers to these air shows fluctuate significantly based on the size of the host city and whether it’s military or civilian hosted or not, he said.

“In general military hosted air shows attract much larger crowds than civilian hosted air shows.”

The 2011 Swartkops air show for example attracted about 60 000 visitors whilst the Swellendam 2011 air show attracted 4 000 visitors, Coetzee added.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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