Construction of Lanseria International Airport’s new R150-million 45-m-wide and 3-km-long runway, adjacent to the existing runway, is about 20% complete.
The new runway will be wider than the existing runway, which was built in the 1970s. This will enable the airport to cater for the larger newer-generation aircraft now being used by airlines.
Lanseria International Airport CEO Gavin Sayce says the existing runway is coming to the end of its life and adds that the airport is also experiencing increased air traffic.
The initial design for the new runway started in 2009, but airport management decided to postpone the start of the project, owing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“Since then, we have been refining the design and raising the necessary capital. Construction started in August 2012 and the runway will be operational in September 2013.
“The old runway will be removed by the end of this year,” Sayce points out.
The construction of the new runway forms part of measures to cater for the airport’s continued growth.
“We have seen growth in the domestic schedules market with South African low-cost carriers Mango and Kulula. We see Lanseria growing to become a regional hub for sub-Saharan Africa. We are in discussion with various airlines to make that a reality,” says Sayce.
Further, Lanseria International Airport is, in a separate project, extending its terminal building to increase concourse capacity and streamline check-in pro- cedures.
Construction on this multimillion-rand project, which would also enable the airport to accommodate more food and retail outlets, started this month and is expected to be completed in June.
Meanwhile, Sayce points out that the airport has implemented strict safety measures for the construction of the new runway, given that it is being built in close proximity to the current operational run- way.
“This required us to implement a strict safety and business sustainability case that was approved by the Civil Aviation Authority and Air Traffic & Navigation Services.
“All labourers are screened for security reasons and only permitted employees have access to the construction site,” he says.
Further, everyone working on the con-struction site has been subjected to an airside induction course, which covers issues such as aviation safety and security, to make them aware of their working environment.
“The course, which is a Lanseria Inter-national Airport initiative, provides ongoing training. When workers on the site change construction areas, they attend a refresher course.
“A fence has been erected around the construction site to confine construction personnel and vehicles to the construction site to ensure that the safety of airport operations is not compromised in any way. Anyone who crosses it is immediately removed from the site,” he says.
In November, the owners and developers of Lanseria sold the airport to a consortium of investors.
The airport was bought by Sandton-based Pan-African infrastructure development fund manager Harith, the Government Employees Pension Fund, through the Public Invest- ment Corporation, and a black economic- empowerment consortium that includes women-empowerment company Nozala.
Sayce says the airport’s management team and philosophy remain unchanged.
“In addition, our capital expenditure programme for the next three years has been accepted, committed to and funded by the new owners.