City airport runs at a loss

2009-10-23 00:00

A DECISION on whether Pietermaritzburg’s airport can be expanded or moved to Camperdown must be made as a matter of urgency, the Msunduzi Municipality’s executive committee (Exco) heard yesterday.

DA councillor Bill Lambert said the problem of planes being diverted from Oribi Airport to Durban because of bad weather was raised several times at this weeks’s two-day city strategic summit. He said it was embarrassing to hear the KZN Finance MEC Ina Cronje say she no longer uses the local airport because of this problem.

Acting manager for economic development Skumbuzo Mpanza said a report is being prepared to give Exco the different options.

ANC councillor Themba Zungu said officials must deal with the matter with more urgency.

“I thought it had already been decided that the airport should be moved to Camperdown because there is not enough space to expand in the current site.

“We need these reports because we need to start talking to Camperdown,” he said.

Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo said the airport is running at a loss.

She said revenue can be increased if more planes can land there and that this can be done by improving the electronic systems at the airport.

Councillor Roger Ashe (DA) suggested that while pursuing the issue of new airport, more can be done to upgrade the facility.

Mpanza said this is being done. He said the airport authorities are improving the landing signal and upgrading its equipment.

He urged Exco to set up a meeting with the leadership of the provincial government so that the city can put forward the idea of an airport in Camperdown and find out whether the province approves and will help with financing.

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