Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport 'critical' for Gauteng

27th May 2021 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has stressed the importance of the OR Tambo International Airport, in the city of Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, for the economy, development and post-Covid-19 recovery of the province. He did so during a meeting with senior executives of the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), the State-owned entity that owns and operates the airport (as well as other major airports across the country), on Thursday. Currently, OR Tambo’s contribution to the provincial economy amounts to R30-billion and 60 000 jobs.

“OR Tambo [airport] is critical to the province’s economic recovery plan,” highlighted Makhura. “This important meeting forms part of the provincial government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Programme to support high-growth priority sectors that will unlock the transformation, modernisation, and re-industrialisation of the different districts and corridors of Gauteng.”

“We are conscious of our responsibilities and our role in being a catalyst for recovery in passenger travel and air cargo growth,” assured Acsa CEO Mpumi Mpofu. “As a matter of fact, we have identified several growth initiatives. These include, but are not limited to, air cargo, aerotropolis and an airport access strategy aimed at attracting rural and township communities to make use of Acsa airports and provide easy and affordable access to air travel.”

Acsa’s aerotropolis strategy is about using its airports as foci for economic development and growth in their respective cities and regions. “Our aerotropolis growth initiatives involve the planned provision of a variety of land uses on and around an airport that are linked by corridors that benefit the airport, Gauteng communities, businesses and the economic region,” she elucidated.

Currently, this aerotropolis concept is focused on Acsa’s three main airports, which it calls its ‘Golden Triangle’. These are OR Tambo, Cape Town International Airport, and Durban’s King Shaka International Airport. OR Tambo is the location for Acsa’s first aerotropolis initiative.

“The macro-objective is to support the National Development Agenda and, from an Acsa perspective, to increase competitiveness, maximise revenues and ensure improved connectivity, accessibility, and transformation of our airports,” she affirmed. “Over the past decade and more, the City of Ekurhuleni and Gauteng Provincial Government have performed the vital leadership roles in driving the planning for Africa’s first aerotropolis.”