King Shaka airport opening

2010-05-10 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma heaped praise on everyone who worked on the King Shaka International Airport, which he said has set a global standard for delivering huge infrastructure.

Zuma officially opened the R7 billion airport at a glittering function at the airport, which began operating on May 1.

He also unveiled a statue of King Shaka, by well-known Durban artist Andries Botha, at the entrance of the passenger terminal building.

A large police contingent monitored the hundreds of people who gathered to watch the unveiling.

King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, Prince Mangusuthu Buthelezi, KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize, MEC for Tourism and Development Michael Mabayakhulu, Minister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele and National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele were among the dignitaries.

During his address, Zuma said that the opening of the airport marked a historic moment for South Africa as it was the culmination of years of planning and hard work.

He said that the opening coincided with the one year anniversary of government’s new administration.

“It is indeed a special honour for me to be at this opening. We are also celebrating the official inauguration and I’m filled with a sense of fulfillment and personal joy,” he said.

“This project is a job well done. The launch of the airport could not have happened at a better time, just in time for the World Cup.”

Managing director of Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) Monhla Hlahla described the opening as a “humbling moment” and said that the completion of the project showed that South Africans could achieve anything with encouragement and the right resources.

“The airport was delivered with precision. We had the shortest time to deliver, yet in 33 months we were able to achieve a world class airport,” she said.

She told guests that even though King Shaka International Airport is Durban’s gateway to the world, Durban International Airport should be remembered as a “little airport” that gave way to a great airport.

Mkhize said he believes the airport is among the best in the world and will be a great catalyst for increased growth in the local economy.

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