The newly constructed King Shaka International Airport in Durban came out with flying colours during a trial exercise, the state BuaNews agency reports. The mass trial at the airport in La Mercy involved the participation of an estimated 800 “fake passengers” and 300 staff members as part of the last leg of rigorous checks to ensure its preparedness ahead of its debut.
“This trial has shown that King Shaka International is more than ready on all operations at the airport from landing and passenger/luggage transfer to safety and security, as well as road infrastructure, traffic around the airport, car rental and retail facilities and readiness of our personnel,” said General Manager Terence Delomoney.
“The trial sees the culmination of the Operational Readiness and Transfer Program (ORAT) and it shows that King Shaka International Airport is now 100% functional ahead of its official opening and of the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” BuaNews said. The airport will be replacing the existing Durban International Airport which will see its last flight out of Durban on April 30.
“We are all excited about the move to King Shaka International Airport, and are all committed towards ensuring a seamless change-over to King Shaka International. “We urge passengers to access information about the move on our website and to be part of this historical moment,” said Delomoney.
ACSA said the airport will contribute to the creation of between 165 000 and 260 000 direct and indirect jobs in the next 20-years. The new airport will be able to process 7.5 million passengers per annum and in addition will alleviate the pressure on the Durban-Johannesburg route by facilitating more than 50 000 tons of manufactured goods produced in the region directly from the local airport.
The King Shaka International airport is approximately 65 km from the current airport.