GEORGE NEWS - With the introduction of Alert Level 3, restricted domestic travel is permitted. However, George Airport will not be opening.
George Mayor Leon van Wyk expressed his shock at this decision.
David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, also expressed his dismay in this regard and has written to the National Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula.
Research indicates that 40% of the passengers making use of the George Airport do so for business purposes.
“Not opening the airport is just another severe restriction that is being imposed not only on George, but the entire Garden Route and should be amended,” said Van Wyk. “Pre-lockdown figures indicated that as many as 55 000 passengers passed through George Airport per month. These passengers generate a huge income as related services like car rentals, accommodation, food and fuel are supported.”
It is well-known that many professional people commute between George and other centres on a weekly basis, as their families are based here. Flights need to be reinstated to enable the affected business commuters to re-enter the workplace 100% while rebuilding the economy of George.
Van Wyk said the economy of the Garden Route has been hit by many setbacks over the last few years, including the long-term effects of the 2008/09 economic crisis, drought, the Knysna and the George Fires.
“I therefore would like to place it on record that the re-opening of the George Airport is vital and will provide a much-needed lifeline to some of our local businesses and commuters. I have been in discussions with Acsa (Airports Company South Africa) and we will provide assistance where necessary to ensure the George Airport is re-opened.”
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