Gauteng Premier David Makhura has highlighted the importance of Lanseria International Airport (LIA), and planned projects around it, for the development of the north-west quarter of the province. He was delivering the keynote address at the recent official opening of the new control tower and fire station complex at the airport.
“Lanseria, in our vision, is a new economic node in the north-west of our province,” he affirmed. Apart from the some R1-billion being invested in the airport itself by its shareholders (Lanseria is a private-sector airport), another R9-billion is planned to be invested in developments around it, largely by other private-sector investors.
Altogether, these developments are called Lanseria Airport City. They will include industrial, commercial and residential projects. “Lanseria Airport City development – it sounds like a dream,” he stated. “Lanseria International Airport is the inner circle of that dream.
“You need bulk infrastructure to catalyse the development of the [airport] city,” he pointed out. “[The public sector] comes in on the bulk infrastructure.” He also stressed the importance of including the poor in such large-scale private-sector development projects.
In his address at the same event, Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi affirmed that LIA played a role in the provincial government’s plans to develop “airport cities”. “It is essential we use this airport as a point of economic growth.” He noted that the management of LIA had a vision of making the airport the preferred regional airport. “Vadi expressed the view that, in the coming years, flying schools and light aviation should be relocated to the smaller airports in the province, but that Lanseria should continue to support the corporate aviation market.
“Lanseria as an airport has – over the years – grown from being a purely business and general aviation aerodrome to being a fully commercial international player in the airport business,” observed Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) executive: commercial services Thabani Myeza. “From humble beginnings it has grown to be a multinetwork airport connecting with major city pairs such as Cape Town and Durban (King Shaka Airport), as well as George, not to mention connecting regional and international destinations . . . LIA is still growing and will continue to do so in the medium and long term. “We can confirm that ATNS is ready and committed to take this journey together with LIA. From an airspace and air traffic management perspective, we are ready to seamlessly manage and integrate LIA air traffic into the mainstream busy Gauteng airspace.”
Makhura, in his speech, observed that mining, once the dominant economic activity on the West Rand, is now in continual decline. Alternative economic activities were needed to replace it. Lanseria Airport City would provide one of these alternatives.
“As part of our Gautrain expansion programme, the Gautrain will reach Lanseria,” assured the Premier. The Gautrain will connect with Lanseria. That is part of our vision. This is not for our children. These things will happen, I am confident, in the next 15 years.”