GEORGE NEWS - When the intended expansion at the George Airport is completed, the airport will have the capacity to handle 1,2 million passengers per year. If all goes according to plan, construction will start in March / April 2020.
A look at passenger figures highlights the necessity for expansion. In the 2014/15 financial year, the total number of passengers was 615 688. By the end of the financial year 2018/2019, it had reached 835 906 - a growth of 35,7% over four years.
Information about the intended expansion was shared with the media last Thursday, 14 November. Brenda Vorster, George Airport manager, said that the development of tourism and business in the region has been central to the airport's growth. She said it is a "nice problem" to have, but it is very hard work to maintain quality.
The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) recognises that investment in expanding airport infrastructure is needed, not just to address current space shortage, but also to support further growth in the long term.
While the new investments will see important changes in both the terminal and cargo areas of George Airport, increasing the number of boarding gates from 6 to 8 is a priority. Passengers are not happy with the crowded conditions.
The existing terminal will be extended to the east and the west to provide additional lounge holding space and common concourse areas. The estimated completion date is December 2024. Tenders for the work will be published shortly, after which the total envisaged costs can be disclosed.
More cargo space
A new cargo facility, with associated access, will be constructed to address capacity constraints, customer satisfaction and congestion of the access roads. The estimated completion date for the cargo facility is December 2022.
The project will include the building of:
- Six cargo facilities - each 10m x 10m for a building of 600m² in size;
- Five ground handling facilities - each 10m x 10m in size covering an area of 500m²; and
- Additional manoeuvring and staging space.
Vorster emphasised that management will do their best to minimise disruption during the construction phases. Temporary arrangements while building is under way, will be be communicated with passengers and visitors.
Vorster told the George Herald after the media briefing that she is very excited about the new plans and the future of the airport, and passengers can look forward to a lot great changes.
More detailed announcements about the expansion plans will be made later.
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