Oribi Airport to be upgraded

2009-11-11 00:00

MILLIONS of rands are going to be spent in the next year upgrading the Oribi Airport, said the airport manager Hennie Erasmus at a press conference yesterday.

Erasmus said the upgrade is part of a plan to improve the airport from a category four level to a category six, which will allow for bigger jets to land at the airport.

He said an estimated R1,6 million will be spent on extending the fire station at the airport and R3,5 million on installing landing lights, while a private company has committed an estimated R8 million to building a car park.

Erasmus said the airport is in need of these changes to upgrade its standing.

“The landing lights will help the pilots at night and those who do not know Pietermaritzburg to know where to land,” said Erasmus.

He added, “There have been complaints that at night or during adverse weather conditions, planes are diverted to Durban, inconveniencing a lot of people, and that will end.”

He said about 90% of planes in use will be able to land.

Pops Chetty, a member of the Msunduzi Municipality executive committee, announced that the municipality is taking back control of the airport. He said the upgrade will put an end to rumours that a new airport will be built.

“If a new airport is built, it will be a long-term project that could happen over 10 years and in the meantime we will improve this one.”

Chetty said a new airport is not yet a possibility as there is neither land nor funds available.

He pledged that the municipality will take the necessary steps to ensure that Oribi Airport is run efficiently.

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