Prospects of growth at King Shaka Airport welcomed

KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma. Picture: Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 20, 2024


Durban — KwaZulu-Natal’s Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) Department has welcomed prospects of King Shaka International Airport’s development.

The sentiments from the department come after Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga announced earlier this month that R21.7 billion has been earmarked by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) for the development of airport infrastructure.

Speaking at a media briefing on the state of the aviation sector in the country, she said this was the largest capital investment programme by Acsa since its preparation for the 2010 World Cup.

“The primary targets for this investment are refurbishments, efficiency improvements, and statutory compliance measures, with the aim of enhancing the availability of assets, airport safety and passenger experiences across airports.

“Given that it was a relatively new airport, with terminal expansion during the final year of the permission period, King Shaka International Airport is expected to see the development of a hotel,” Chikunga said.

Edtea MEC Siboniso Duma said they appreciated the fact that a huge amount of money would go towards the development of King Shaka International Airport.

“The minister’s announcement is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement that infrastructure is the flywheel of our economy. Different sectors of our economy will grow and jobs will be created,” he said.

Duma said they had been working with national government to drive the Aerotropolis – a city within King Shaka International Airport.

“It should be remembered that years ago, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Economic Development, Nomalungelo Gina, was part of the unveiling of the Durban Aerotropolis master plan and also launched the Aerotropolis Institute Africa. The event took place at our very own Dube TradePort,” he said.

Duma said that the announcement by Chikunga would strengthen their position as a trade gateway to Africa and the world.

He said their plan was to turn the airport and Dube TradePort precinct into a bustling hive of economic activity to drive job growth and become a regional economic powerhouse.

Duma said they had adopted an integrated approach to realise this massive development involving all spheres of government, adding that the eThekwini Municipality was working towards the provision of bulk infrastructure.

“In 2003, the ANC government took a decision to relocate the old Durban International Airport to La Mercy.

“It was also decided to establish the Dube TradePort which would incorporate King Shaka International Airport. Importantly, one of the key strategic reasons for the relocation was to establish an integrated multi-modal logistics platform that would link the national road and rail systems to the seaports of Durban and Richards Bay, with an added value of air infrastructure to accommodate intercontinental widebody aircraft,” he said.

Duma said the wider context and long-term strategic objective of the Dube TradePort project was the establishment of an Aerotropolis in the north of Durban, stretching from uMhlanga to Ballito.

He said the basis of the decision to relocate the airport was research which revealed that airports had the potential to shape business location and urban development in the 21st century, just as highways did in the 20th century.

“Over the years, the energies of leaders deployed by the ANC-led government have been channelled towards the realisation of this mammoth task.

“Multiple studies showed that a city growing around an airport would connect workers, suppliers, executives and goods to the global marketplace. As we move forward, we are inviting more investments as we build an airport city around King Shaka International Airport," said Duma.

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