OR Tambo ready for 2010


OR Tambo International Airport is ready for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. Airport management says workers have a R5 billion upgrade of the facility ahead of the Fifa 2010 World Cup, with only minor landscaping left to complete.

Project manager Kesavan Naicker says the upgrade, which also included a major IT overhaul, was delivered within budget and on time, ITWeb reports.

“This project started in 2006 and we approached the IT side of things by first hiring a team of specialists led by arivia.kom to develop, manage and implement the new IT systems required for the building,” Naicker adds.

In particular, the Airports Company SA identified IT project management as a core area, in addition to traditional project management. “We realised the IT side brought its own risks and management requirements, and so we addressed these separately.”

For both IT systems and other enabling infrastructure, ACSA’s focus was based on one over-riding factor: passenger facilitation. “Our emphasis with all the development teams was to make the processes as seamless as possible.”

When it comes to IT, this means installing systems that are convenient and user-friendly, Naicker pointed out. Any technology that does not meet this requirement must be invisible to passengers.

In the new multi-storey parkade, a computerised parking bay detection system monitors all bays and guides drivers to the nearest available parking spot. The system also automatically assesses overall parking availability.

The information is available on an Internet platform for any user that needs it at any time, Naicker explained. Airport users can also SMS at any time of the day to get an accurate count of how many parking bays are available and at which parking lot, he added.

The upgraded central terminal building features a common user self-service system that enables passengers to skip the queues, check in on their own and print their own boarding passes. All they need is their unique flight reference number.

On the other side of the counter, a common user terminal equipment system allows any airline to check in passengers at any check-in counter at any terminal. The two systems are designed to ensure check-in at the new OR Tambo is as fast, convenient and stress-free as possible, Naicker noted.

Outside the terminal building, a computerised airline docking system will speed up the processes of deplaning and getting planes ready for the next flight. “As an aircraft approaches the building to park, this automated system identifies the plane as it comes in and quickly guides it to where it should park,” Naicker said.

Together, the improvements will increase OR Tambo’s handling capacity. In 2006, the airport could handle 18 million passengers per year, but now, said Naicker, “with all the recent developments, we are standing at a potential of 28 million passengers per annum”.

This will make OR Tambo the busiest airport in Africa and the 72nd busiest in the world.