Aviation authority satisfied with Confeds Cup safety measures

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
By: 
Chris Bathembu

Johannesburg - The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is satisfied with the precautionary measures put in place to ensure the country's skies are safe during the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup.

SACAA Chief Executive Officer, Captain Colin Jordaan, told reporters on Wednesday that a critical question being asked was whether the aviation industry, particularly the SACAA and its associated organisations, were ready for the 14 June kick off.

"The answer is a definite yes," said Captain Jordaan.

Most supporters and soccer players will arrive in the country by air and this mode of transport will feature prominently in many other activities. As a result, said Captain Jordaan, there will be higher air traffic volume in and around the venues where the games are set to take place.

He said he was satisfied that sufficient measures had been put in place to handle the increased activity due to the partnership between SACCA, the Transport Department, Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), SA Police Services and South African Air Force (SAAF).

"In addition, we believe the Confederations Cup will be a true test of South Africa's capabilities and readiness to host the world's biggest soccer extravaganza, the 2010 FIFA World Cup," Captain Jordaan said.

According to Brigadier General Les Lombard from the SAAF, several exercises have been conducted over the past few months to test the state of the country's readiness.

The last exercise was conducted in March when over 7 000 flight authorisations were completed over a two-day period with minimal complaints received from the aviation community.

"[This exercise] was very similar to what will be the real event during the Confederations Cup," said Brigadier General Lombard, adding that they had received good cooperation from the aviation community.

Chief Director of Civil Aviation in the Department of Transport Anwar Gany said the department was confident that all the necessary steps had been taken to ensure the safety of South Africans as well as visitors to the country during the soccer spectacle.

Mr Lombard said the final exercises to test the readiness of the country's major airports would take place next week.