Cabinet will, this year, review and take a decision on rationalising the number of international airports in South Africa, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, he said Cabinet had already taken a decision last year “that there are too many international airports in the country”.
“Some of the international ports of entry need to be scaled down to just domestic ports of travel . . . so that, in terms of the deployment of personnel and resources, [staff can be moved where needed],” he noted.
From December 9 to January 14, travellers using the Upington International Airport increased by 235% year-on-year, while the Port Elizabeth International Airport’s traffic fell by 95% year-on-year.
“Upington airport is a seasonal airport. It becomes most active during the hunting season and the harvesting season. We still need to look at [the reason] behind the upsurge in activity. It could be that tourists are discovering a new area,” he said.
The country’s three major airports, including the OR Tambo International Airport, the King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport saw an increase in travellers of 3%, 27% and 30%, respectively.
The country’s other international airports include the Pilansberg International Airport, which experienced a 68% increase in travellers year-on-year, the Waterkloof Military Base, where traveller numbers were up 41% year-on-year and the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, up 23%.
The Bloemfontein International Airport, Lanseria Airport and Polokwane International Airport all experienced no growth or negative growth year-on-year.
Gigaba added that the Department of Home Affairs would not introduce any new international ports of entry.