120,000 extra flights for World Cup

An extra 120,000 flights have been allocated over the 2010 Fifa World Cup period with more slots still available, the Airports Company SA (Acsa) said on Tuesday. 

At a briefing on the airport’s preparedness for the World Cup, Acsa’s group manager of operations Andre Vermeulen said there had been an increase in the number of requests for more slots in June and July by commercial and non-commercial airlines. 

“That’s just for that period. It’s not to say that these slots will be used,” he said, adding that more slots were available.  Vermeulen said the number of flights over the World Cup period had almost doubled in relation to other times of the year. 

Currently, OR Tambo International Airport’s incoming and outgoing flights operated on about 45 to 46 slots an hour and could manage 60 an hour.  The airport’s general manager Chris Hlekane, speaking on behalf of the ten airports which will host World Cup fans, said that with 100 days to go the operation plan was 90 percent complete. 

All major projects at OR Tambo International had been completed and were being fine-tuned.  At Cape Town International, the departures level was 80 percent complete. 

The reconfiguration and upgrading of access roads, the multi-storey parkade and the central terminal building would be completed in March.  Durban’s King Shaka International airport would be completed in April and operational in May. 

The total cost of the upgrades and renovations of the ten airports is R17 billion. 

“We have now entered a critical stage. We will continue with our partners to ensure that the operational plans are completed within the next couple of weeks,” said Hlekane. 

A problem that arose out of the Confederation Cup last year was the public transport access to the airport, he said.  As a result, bus transport and possible tour operator licences would be available to ease congestion.  A separate team arrival terminal had also been proposed at the north end of the airport to allow more accessible media and fan coverage. 

Hlekane said negotiations with the unions and the department of labour on extended working hours for employees were also in the final stages.  OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and the George airports will operate 24 hours a day for the first two weeks of the World Cup.

Source:  sapa online, 20100302

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