GAAN, partners attract more airlines to OR Thambo, Gauteng through tourism

The return of South African Airways and other airlines over the past two years has improved airlift capacity and opened connectivity to a wider network of destinations.

 This, together with the Gauteng Air Access Network (GAAN) efforts to attract airlines to O.R. Tambo International Airport has yielded positive results with seven airline routes launching between 2022 and 2023 including two that returned after many years of absence.

Barba Gaoganediwe

This is coming as GAAN said its partners will be pursuing business in the coming months at World Travel Market Africa, Africa’s Travel Indaba and AviaDev as they work to attract more global airlines and investors to O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) and Lanseria International Airport.

 “Improving air access to South Africa and Gauteng is a vital factor as we strive to grow our tourism sector and economy. Besides providing more passenger seats, additional airlines provide additional air cargo capacity which is crucial for economic growth,” said Barba Gaoganediwe, Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) spokesperson, explaining that the most commercially important part of an aircraft was its belly and the cargo it carried.

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 “For the Gauteng economy to perform at its peak it will need a very strong air access capability and network that is made up of public private, and community business players. Hence, the Gauteng Air Access Network with all its partners across the various sectors, has the bargaining power to aggregate resources when they go into international markets to sell the benefits of being in Gauteng, “he said.

Thus, the announcement this month that the Airports Company of SA (ACSA) will develop a new cargo terminal, known as Mid-field Cargo, at ORTIA on a prioritized basis given the demand and later the development of a Mid-field Passenger Terminal, is excellent news.

 Just before Covid-19, Lanseria International Airport underwent a R150 million upgrade and in January the Wonderboom National Airport in Tshwane upgraded its aerodrome license from Category 2 to Category 5 following a three-month oversight audit by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).  This means the airport is open for business and is ready to welcome interested airline operators who wish to introduce scheduled flight services.

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 It is also pleasing that SAA’s seasonal route to Gqeberha will become a permanent destination on the airlines’ flight itinerary after  March 31, 2024.  Gqeberha is the country’s fourth busiest airport linked to a world-class city with one of South Africa’s leading Special Economic Zones and two ports. This means that there are economic and social opportunities that can be developed between it and Gauteng.

 Air routes according to the group are economic routes not just passenger routes, therefore increasing air access and logistic capabilities in Gauteng bodes well for an economy that is reindustrializing and expanding its commerce, manufacturing, finance and tourism capabilities.

 “Consistent air traffic whether through ORTIA, Lanseria or private airports like Wonderboom means that we can improve logistics and oil the economy,” he said.

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 GAAN sees all aspects of air access being integrated into one geographic region with ORTIA as the hub and the spokes being Lanseria International Airport,  Rand Airport, Wonderboom National Airport and Waterkloof Military Air Base playing its role for specific consignments such as in the defence and aerospace sector, as well as the planned Vaal airport.

 During the financial year 2023/2024 ACSA’s data shows that ORTIA alone welcomed over 6,459 million international travellers, over 645,000 regional travellers, over 9,1 million domestic travellers and over 78,000 unscheduled travellers. 

 

This amounted to 56 498 international flights, 94 659 domestic flights, 17 137 regional flights and 18 750 unscheduled flights.

Wole Shadare

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