South Africa’s two main airports: Cape Town International (CTIA) and OR Tambo International Airport just outside Johannesburg are set for a $540 million upgrade. The upgrade is part of an ambitious project to develop South Africa’s aviation industry, which should give the economy a much-needed boost.
Cape Town International Airport
The main upgrade for CTIA is a realigned runway. Preliminary work began as far back as 2008, but the bulk of the project didn’t start until July 2017. Work on the runway is expected to conclude in 2021. CTIA will also get a new domestic arrivals terminal. Construction on the new terminal was due to start in March 2018. Terminal two is also being redeveloped, with completion planned for June 2019. Finally, a new international departure lounge and boarding gates are set for completion in June 2019.
OR Tambo International Airport
OR Tambo is being upgraded so it can accommodate larger aircraft. Remote apron stands will be built so Airbus A380s can use the airport. There will also be space for passengers awaiting bus transfers to the main terminals. In addition, Terminal A is set for a R448 million refurbishment and upgrade. The work should be completed by October 2020. Further money has been allocated to increase the airport’s capacity.
Africa Airport Expansion Summit
At the 6th Annual Africa Airport Expansion Summit in Addis Ababa, Summit Chair, Alexander Herring, told delegates that airports in Africa are key to socio-economic development. The African aviation sector is growing rapidly, but the infrastructure needs to evolve at the same pace.
Upgrading two of South Africa’s biggest airports will provide greater opportunities for travel and tourism, connecting South African businesses to global supply chain partners, boosting productivity, and providing greater investment opportunities. An estimated 192 million extra passengers per year will travel to the African continent by 2035, many of whom will be visiting South Africa. The only way to meet growing demand is by expanding airport hubs.
South Africa has faced significant economic challenges in recent years. Economic growth has tailed off significantly since 2012, falling to 0.3% in 2016. The price of commodities such as oil has plunged, which has badly affected South Africa. Reduced oil income means less money to spend on major infrastructure projects. However, the latest economic data suggests South Africa is finally on the road to recovery and experts expect the economy to grow by 1.7% in 2018 and 1.8% in 2019, this should give forex in South Africa a much-needed boost. Now that Cyril Ramaphosa has taken over as head of the ANC, economic policy is heading in the right direction and South Africa should be able to avert a credit rating downgrade.
The new airport expansions are a step in the right direction. Increased capacity means a shot in the arm for tourism and greater opportunities for businesses.
South Africa’s airport upgrades are part of a much wider project that includes major investment in Ethiopia. The new Addis Ababa International Airport will be completed by ADP Ingénierie at a cost of US$4 billion. An entire new airport with supporting infrastructure will be built.