Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has decided to transform from being an airport business that operates technology to a digital business that manages airports.
ACSA CEO Bongani Maseko says the implementation of the five-year digital strategy began in 2016 and the company has already piloted self-help baggage drop- in kiosks to improve passenger experience.
“The digital solution demonstrates ACSA’s commitment to technological advancements, as well as an appreciation for global travel trends and the willingness to bring this technology to local South African airports.”
He indicates that the project will not only limit possible human errors but also hasten and simplify the check-in processes while exposing customers to the latest trends in airport customer process technology.
Maseko says ACSA will soon introduce a new system called Infogate, which entails a number of large touch-screen kiosks being placed at key points around an airport, with passengers being able to speak to a customer agent in real time at these kiosks and receive information and guidance particular to their requirements at that moment.
Moreover, the safety of passengers – and ensuring that there is nothing that could threaten their safety – is one of ACSA’s priorities, he adds. “However, there will inevitably be occasions when [perpetrators] find new ways to circumvent security measures. Our task is to remain alert and adapt security measures when required.”
Smart security is another innovation for a security check-in and screening system, which has been piloted from November 2016 to January last year at OR Tambo International Airport. Smart security improves waiting times and its modern scanning technology allows for bags and people to be checked without the elaborate process of having to unpack or empty pockets, he explains.
Maseko welcomes the direct involvement of national government, particularly the Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula, whose “injection of urgency and pace” into security matters has provided leadership for a joint operations committee to address criminal activities at the airport.
“While the [South African Police Service] has a responsibility towards airport security, all the other stakeholders are providing essential contributions to support the efforts of the police,” he says.
Maseko assures that behind-the-scenes measures are being combined and implemented to further strengthen the security situation at OR Tambo International Airport.
Projects in Progress
The environmental-impact study involving the runway extension and expansion project at the international terminal at Cape Town International Airport has been approved and the final regulatory approvals are expected to be granted in a few months.
With a procurement tag of more than R3.5-billion, the project is part of ACSA’s investment and maintenance programme.
Meanwhile, ACSA confirms that progress with Cape Town’s two major aerotro- polis initiatives – the Symphony Way Development Corridor project and the Swartklip Development – continues with the assistance of the City of Cape Town.
“With the support of our partners, our aerotropolis initiatives will develop socioeconomic opportunities and support employment around our three major airports – OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airport,” he says.
The City of Ekurhuleni is also pursuing the aerotropolis project that will drive economic growth, create jobs, build business and convert the metropolitan area surrounding OR Tambo International Airport into a business hub within the next 25 years.
“The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and the Dube TradePort are our partners in creating similar business hubs near King Shaka International Airport,” adds Maseko.
ACSA Business Strategy and Vision 2025
ACSA entered into a cooperation agreement with Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) in 2014. GACL is constructing Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport, in Accra, in Ghana.
Maseko says the contract with Kotoka International Airport is for the design and master plan review, project management and stakeholder management strategy, as well as services standards and operational readiness and transfer. ACSA will also assist the GACL in achieving operational readiness for the terminal by proving technical advisory services.
“The partnership with the GACL aligns with ACSA’s Business Strategy and Vision 2025 projections of being a reputable world-class partner of choice in an innovative and sustainable manner to the benefit of all stakeholders,” Maseko elaborates.
He adds that ACSA views transformation as a legislative and ethical requirement of successful business operation and growth. “Our transformation agenda and its policies underpin our seven sector strategies that entail aligning our business to reflect the demographics of the country towards econo- mic equality and mitigating imbalances.”
Maseko concludes that ACSA wants to assist people living below the poverty line in participating in the mainstream economy in the sectors of information technology, construction, property, retail, advertising, car rental and baggage handling.