New R7 billion airport project coming to South Africa

 ·12 Jan 2024

The Cape Winelands Airport near Durbanville, Cape Town is set for an estimated R7 billion airport expansion programme expected to take flight in 2027 and promises to create thousands of jobs pre- and post-construction.

“We are thrilled to introduce our airport expansion to the Cape Winelands region,” said Deon Cloete, managing director of Cape Winelands Airport. “This facility represents a commitment to providing world-class transportation options, promoting tourism, and stimulating economic growth in our beautiful region.”

Established back in 1943, the airport has historically served civilian, non-commercial flights. However, its new owners plan to change this. The airport will act as an entry point to the Cape Winelands area, providing various domestic and international flight choices.

The company forecasts that by 2050, the airport will handle 25% of the passenger market into Cape Town by having 2 million global visitors and 3 million domestic travelers annually. This is expected to take the region’s present annual passenger traffic from 10 million to 20 million passengers, as it provides a crucial gateway to surrounding areas.

MMC for Economic Growth in the City of Cape Town, Alderman James Vos, said that he is “proud to publicly endorse the development of the new Cape Winelands Airport to be built in the Northern District of our city ” [as] “this project promises to transform Cape Town’s land (and sky)scape; ushering in a new era of opportunity and prosperity.”

Subject to regulatory approval, the airport has said that its transformation will include the development of key airport infrastructure such as:

  • Realigned runway – The airport currently has four runways, which it plans to convert and extend one of these to a Code 4F runway built to a new orientation, capable of accommodating wide-body aircraft;
  • New terminal building;
  • Cargo processing facility;
  • New hangarage/hangers;
  • Fuelling facilities;
  • Hotel accommodation;
  • Heliport;
  • Warehousing and logistics facilities;
  • Facilities for light manufacturing and industrial purposes;
  • Food processing facilities;
  • Educational and commercial office spaces;
  • Retail spaces;
  • Event and conference venues.
Source: Cape Winelands Aero

One of the arguments for the construction of the airport is to position itself as a viable ‘planning alternate airport’. These are designated airports that flight crews plan to divert to in case of unexpected events or emergencies during a flight.

When planning for fuel requirements on long-haul flights inbound to Cape Town, airlines typically consider O.R. Tambo International Airport as their alternate airport, located at a distance of 1,270km away.

This means airlines need to carry an extra two hours’ worth of fuel on each flight. The airport positions itself as a viable alternative for airlines as they would have a much closer planning alternate airport, being only 25 kms away from the Caper Town International Airport.

Vos added that “the strategic placement of the airport is an intentional move to expand our connectivity, creating new business and new tourism nodes.” “It will contribute to Cape Town’s identity as a hub for business and leisure by facilitating the economic activity essential for enhancing the quality of life of our residents.”

The MMC believes that the project is a profound investment into the community and “is a launchpad of economic revitalisation – positioned to be a hub for socio-economic growth, it promises to create jobs, support local business, and enhance our city’s competitive edge.”

Vos also said that significant progress has been made in the airport’s developments, as demonstrated by the recent lodging of the Notice of Intent for Environmental Authorisation. “This critical step reflects a commitment to responsible and sustainable development, marking a key milestone in bringing the vision to life.”

Read: South Africa set to gain another international airport

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