There’s a new hand on the controls at OR Tambo International the busiest airport on the African continent and it is a woman’s.
As of the beginning of this month, missing National Women’s Month by a day, Bongiwe Pityi has been in the metaphorical left hand seat as general manager of the Airports Company of SA (ACSA) flagship operation.
An admitted attorney, she swopped law for aviation 14 years ago and has been tasked with a number of different management roles, locally and abroad for the state-owned airport operations company.
Pityi was the first manager of ACSA’s parking business. She started at the then Johannesburg International Airport in this position in November 2001 and four years later found herself assistant general manager at what was Durban International airport, sound of the busy harbour city’s port.
She was a leading player in managing the operational transition of that airport to its new guise and location of King Shaka International, north of Durban. She was then made assistant general manager of the new airport, built and completed in time for South Africa’s hosting of the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010.
Pityi was been out of the country for more than two and a half years before her September 1 appointment at OR Tambo. She was deputy director: operational readiness planning at Guarulhos International Airport, in São Paulo, Brazil. ACSA has a stake in this South American airport where Pityi contributed to improving its capabilities and ensuring its readiness to handle a major influx of aircraft and passengers ahead of the July 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
Last year she was named the most influential woman in South Africa in the State Owned Enterprise (SOE) category.
Pityi said she was “humbled, but excited” to be appointed as the top gun at Africa’s premier airport.
“I have no doubt about the challenges ahead and am confident the lessons learnt during my two years in Brazil will improve my ability to add value.”