Plans to turn PMB airport into a cargo hub

2010-10-29 00:00

A PROPOSAL to develop the area surrounding the Pietermaritzburg Airport (Oribi) was discussed at great length in yesterday’s KwaZulu-Natal Task Group meeting, held in the conference room of the Transport Department.

Pietermaritzburg Airport manager Hennie Erasmus said: “Making the airport a cargo hub that would compete with King Shaka International Airport can only be conducive for producers as it would determine the pricing of goods.”

He said already the provincial government has allocated R40 million towards improving the airport’s infrastructure and promised to allocate more funding if the need arises. He said there is a five-year plan aimed at developing the airport into a viable cargo hub.

Erasmus said 95% of aircrafts flying into the airport will never deviate to Durban again because the airport has installed high tech equipment to ensure that Pietermaritzburg has a viable landing zone.

He assured the public that there are no plans to privatise the airport, saying it still belongs to Msunduzi Municipality.

“Strips of land have been identified for the development of a shopping centre, a hotel, industrial park and to expand the runway,” said Erasmus.

Chairing the meeting was Chris Stretch, a manager for Freight Directorate (Public and Freight Transport) in the DOT, who said: “With the first phase to develop the airport having been completed, it’s good that already there are talks in place to expand it into a viable cargo hub.”

Local businessman Alan Hastings welcomed the idea, saying it will help improve the local economy as more business people will use the improved airport.

“The development of land surrounding the airport, which would include a shopping centre, industrial park and, where appropriate, to promote products that would be suitable for air cargo, can only help create job opportunities for the locals,” Hastings said.

 

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