Fans, FIFA to use revamped Wonderboom Airport

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pretoria - The revamped Wonderboom National Airport in Pretoria is expected to be used extensively during the 2010 FIFA World Cup to transport fans and FIFA delegates to and from the host city.

The airport will be able to operate scheduled flights from host city to host city to cater for traveling fans as well as charter flights between host cities and places of accommodation.

From the airport, fans can easily be integrated into other modes of transport such as rail, buses and taxis to get the soccer match venue.

Speaking at the launch of the new airport on Friday, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said during the World Cup, the airport would also be able to facilitate FIFA movements from Pretoria and Rustenburg as well as serve as a refueling centre for aircraft.

The upgraded and improved infrastructure at the airport includes arrivals and departure halls, a porte cochere with kiosks and a public transport facility developed for tour buses and mini-bus taxis.

Another new feature is the aircraft parking facility where scheduled flights will be operated under an independent airline, Interlink Airlines. These flights will be going to Durban, Cape Town, Polokwane as well as other parts of the country.

The minister said the airport would become an important part of the legacies of the 2010 mega tournament.

"We have signed guarantees to provide sufficient and safe transport operations to enable the movement of spectators during the World Cup. We believe the transport sector is one of the most important sectors for this event, both from legacy and event delivery perspective," he said.

Government has invested over R440 million in the project through the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and a total of 1 629 jobs were created during the construction phase.

The airport expects to handle 6 800 general aviation and helicopter passengers per annum. Ndebele said this would contribute to a successful economy and ensure the creation of even more jobs.

"Transport is the heartbeat of the South African economy. We must continue to intensify our work towards improving the social and economic development of our people.

"Transport is not an area in which we could afford to fail. We are delighted to note that all our host cities have an airport," he said.