Winter Air Tour in Ulundi on Saturday.

2012-06-15 00:00

EXCITEMENT is building in northern KwaZulu-Natal as Ulundi prepares to host its first air show tomorrow. This follows the recent launch of scheduled flights between Ulundi and Pietermaritzburg.

The air spectacle, which will be known as KZN Winter Air Tour 2012, will take place at the Prince Mangosuthu Airport in Ulundi and is expected to attract about 10 000 spectators.

And the best part is that entry is free.

The Winter Air Tour — a series of air shows that will be held at six KZN airports — aims to showcase KwaZulu-Natal aviation and various municipal airports.

The tour also aims to support tourism in the KwaZulu-Natal and to position it as an attractive and competitive aviation industry location.

The director of corporate services at Zululand District Municipality, Mike Shandu, said they are delighted at the opportunity to share the excitement and showcase the newly upgraded airport.

“This will be a big show. There is big excitement and everyone is happy and looking forward to the show.”

The air show is the talk of the town not only in Ulundi, but also in Vryheid, KwaNongoma and other towns in Zululand district.

Some of the best aviation talent will be on display. South African pilots will entertain with precision flying aerobatics in a line-up of various aircraft

Exhibitors with a variety of businesses, products and services will have stalls.

The day will double as a Youth Day celebration and hundreds of pupils are expected to attend.

“In the future we hope to establish training schools here for pilots and aviation mechanics. As the air show falls on Youth Day, we are bussing grade 11 and 12 learners in specially from around the district in order to give them an idea of some of the career opportunities in the aviation industry,” Shandu said.

Zululand District Mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, who has been fighting hard for the refurbishment of the Ulundi’s airport, will open the event.

She told The Witness she was looking forward to the event and hoped it would be a success.

“I am very excited about it especially because the airport has not been used in a while,” said Magwaza-Msibi.

“This will also give people, who usually see such shows on TV a chance to experience it for the first time.”

She said the event would boost the economy of the district as many people were expected to attend.

“This will put Ulundi on the map,” the mayor said.

Gates open at 8 am and the show will run from 10 am to 3pm.

Entry is free and on a first come, first served basis, but is limited to 10 000, so prospective show-goers are advised to get there early.

The Winter Air Tour kicked off in Newcastle on June 2, followed by Richards Bay on June 9.

The next show will be staged in Pietermaritzburg on June 23.

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