Lanseria International Airport (LIA) could see significant investment as it expands further over the next five years.
LIA is the only other international airport in Gauteng, the primary one being the OR Tambo International Airport.
Passenger numbers at LIA reached more than one-million last year, up from around 150 000 in 2005.
“It could touch, or exceed, two-million passengers by the end of this year,” says LIA airport manager Gavin Sayce.
To put this number into perspective, consider that Port Elizabeth is the fourth-biggest airport in the Airports Company South Africa stable, and that it has a capacity of two-million passengers a year.
The growth in number of passengers using LIA has come largely on the back of an agreement between Kulula and the airport in 2005, which saw the low-cost airline initiate its service with one flight to and from Cape Town a day. Now, however, that has grown to 77 flights a week into the airport, and 77 flights departing the airport, flying to Durban and Cape Town.
There are plans afoot to increase this to more than 100 flights a week both ways.
1time, another budget airline, is also locked in talks with LIA management, and could start operations from the airport, located in northern Johannesburg, in the second quarter of this year.
“We are also talking to some other airlines which are interested in operating from here,” notes Sayce.
“In the end, we would like to extend our role as the regional airport of choice, serving Africa and beyond.”
However, these ambitions require infrastructure.
Sayce says that LIA could see the construction of a new, large domestic low-cost airline terminal, with the current terminal morphing into the international terminal.
New infrastructure would also include a new, additional runway to increase capacity, a new multistorey parkade, along with extensions to the existing parking area, as well as possibly a new hotel, located on the grounds.
The road to the airport, the R512, off the N14, is in the process of being upgraded, and will soon be completed, a project which LIA management has lobbied for strongly.
LIA itself employs just under 200 people, but around 7 000 people work at the airport in total.
The airport was established in 1974, as a municipal airfield, but was privatised in 1991. Today, it is owned by a private consortium.
Besides its recent growth as a budget airline hub, Lanseria airport has also become known as a port of entry for Heads of State, celebrities and captains of industry.