Mzansi ready to receive visitors

2010-03-02 14:33

THE Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has spent R17?billion to

upgrade airports in a bid to ensure that it can deal with high volumes of

visitors expected for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.

With only 100 days to go and half a million tourists from around

the world expected to flock to our shores, Acsa has upgraded the infrastructure

of domestic and international airports and expects to have King Shaka

International Airport near Durban in KwaZulu-Natal operating on May 1.

The OR Tambo International Airport, which will be the key entry

point for tourists, is expected to handle about 60?000 passengers a day in the

first few days of the soccer tournament.

According to the general manager of OR Tambo International Airport,

Chris Hlekane, the central terminal building has been upgraded, a multistorey

parkade constructed and additional fuel tanks installed to avoid fuel shortages

during the World Cup.

With infrastructural upgrades at the various airports almost

complete, Hlekane assured the country about the state of readiness to receive

visitors and run smooth domestic flights.

“With exactly 100 days to go, we are confident that together with

our airport partners and staff we will be ready to meet the requirements of this

major event. With the base camps now confirmed, our operational plan is 90%


Hlekane said OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Bloemfontein and Port

Elizabeth international airports will operate around the clock and an agreement

has been reached with unions to minimise the possibility of labour unrest.

In Johannesburg the Gautrain will run between the airport and

Sandton. Buses and taxis will also be available to transport visitors from the

airport to their respective destinations.

The head of security at OR Tambo International Airport, Jason

Tshabalala, said there were 3?000 closed circuit cameras and sufficient security

personnel patrolling the airport, and Acsa was working with the police to ensure

the safety of tourists.


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