Construction at La Mercy airport advancing

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Durban - Construction of the La Mercy airport in Durban is on track, especially with regards to the construction of the air traffic control tower, cargo and terminal buildings, says Airports Company South Africa (ACSA).

"We are on track with the milestones that we have set ourselves. The project is now looking like the vision we had. I am extremely proud of our achievements so far," said Sean van der Valk, Project Manager at ACSA in a statement on Monday.

The construction site has been a hive of activity, despite civil works at the aprons and main access road having been brought to a halt due to the rainy weather over the past four months.

Various specialist teams have been busy locally and internationally testing some of the bulk infrastructure such as the air bridges, baggage systems, cargo systems and public parking systems.

The bulk of the electrical works and fuel pipelines are currently being completed to ensure the road changes that are currently taking place on the access and road interchange will be finished on time.

Mr van der Valk said all concrete work in the terminal building should be completed by the end of March 2009 with the exception of the southern ramp and underpass.

"The structural steel is progressing well with the roof sheeting having commenced on the main terminal this month on the northern airside corridor. The manufacture of all 16 passenger boarding bridges has been completed," he said.

The terminal floor plan has been approved following consultations with stakeholders and possible tenants of office space within the terminal.

"The cargo handling teams have commenced with their program with the first sections of the ULD rack structures already installed in the building together with the construction of the aprons around the cargo building already started in January 2009," said Mr van der Valk.

The mobilisation of the Glidepath baggage handling system has been completed with the first sections of the baggage conveyor already positioned on the arrivals mezzanine level.

Parking facilities at the airport is 80 percent complete.

Construction of the roof of air traffic control tower is being completed after the tower was hoisted in December. Further consultations are taking place with Air Traffic and Navigation Systems (ATNS) to review their requirements in terms on the internal layout.

The runway, taxiway and aprons projects are progressing well with the bulk earthworks and layer works on schedule.

As the construction of the new airport is taking shape, ACSA is busy with other areas that are critically related to the project, said Mr van fder Valk. These include the operational readiness and relocation program that will assist ACSA and the relevant stakeholders to plan and implement the transition from the current site to the new airport by the deadline.

ACSA has also, in line with the project program, advertised and issued tenders for the retail opportunities at the airport consisting of shops and car rental. The retail tenders were issued at the ICC last week when about 800 people were present at a public session.

Once the tenders have gone through a strict evaluation process the successful business tenants will need to move on site by the beginning of August 2009.

Terence Delomoney, General Manager of Durban International and National Airports said ACSA was keeping a watchful eye on the progress of the project. "We are happy with the achievements so far. Our teams are ensuring that all operational and statutory processes will be adhered to and complied with so that we are able to meet the deadline."