PMB airport claims ‘a storm in a teacup’

2012-12-10 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality has dismissed as a storm in a teacup claims that the Pietermaritzburg Airport may “forfeit” its license to operate.

This follows a report tabled at the Executive Committee (Exco) meeting last week, which cautioned that unless the airport urgently addresses issues of non-compliance, it may lose its licence.

The main issue is that a small portion of the runway was damaged by a plane that landed on its nose. The report also stated that the shoulders of the runway were not levelled.

Another issue was that airport security included unqualified personnel. Two security officers did not have matric, while two new recruits were employed without aviation training certificates.

The report suggested that new recruits should no longer be posted at the airport until they were qualified.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma, however, said: “It will be an unfortunate situation if a storm is created in a teacup here.”

He said the damage to the runway referred to in the report was minimal and posed no danger to aircraft.

“I have confirmed this with our engineer, who is the project champion for the municipality in terms of the airport upgrade [project].

“The surface will, however, be repaired through an insurance claim between December 2012 and January 2013,” Zuma said.

He said the impression given by the report was “exaggerated”.

South African Airlink spokesperson Karin Murray said they were aware of the minor damage near the threshold of runway 16, but said this posed no threat to the safe operation of Airlink flights.

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert said this was not a major issue.

NFP caucus leader Ntokozo Bhengu said: “All that is important to us is the safety of the public and for airport management to ensure that they comply with the safety measures.”

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