Govt regrets airport delay

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has expressed regret at the inconvenience caused to football fans who missed the 2010 FIFA World Cup semifinal between Spain and Germany in Durban last night due to their planes being delayed.

A number of football fans were unable to reach the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban after planes were unable to land at the King Shaka International Airport.

Certain private aircraft operators disobeyed a directive to offload passengers at the King Shaka International Airport and thereafter relocate the aircraft to the decommissioned Durban International Airport for parking.

The ministry said the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) worked hard to manage the situation, but that not all aircraft were able to land on time.

"As government, we regret the inconvenience caused to all those fans who missed the semifinal between Spain and Germany due to delays at King Shaka International Airport in Durban yesterday.

"ACSA, ATNS and the rest of the aviation section will continue to work together and strengthen their private aircraft operator facilitation plans for the remainder of the World Cup," said Minister Ndebele on Thursday.

He added that the country's transport operations had generally been moving smoothly since the start of the World Cup on 11 June.

"It's now all systems go for the closing ceremony and the final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at Soccer City in Johannesburg this Sunday. We have been working all out to ensure that we provide an efficient transportation system for the final," he said.

He urged those who will be attending Sunday's match to use public transport adding that the Rea Vaya bus system and Metrorail will begin operating at 2pm.

"Traffic flow problems in Johannesburg were caused largely by locals using private vehicles to the stadiums instead of public transport. We have looked at this matter of traffic flow with FIFA and the Organising Committee and agreed on appropriate steps to improve the situation," said Minister Ndebele.

Measures put in place include the closing of certain roads near match venues at least four hours before kick-off and prohibiting private vehicles except those transporting FIFA officials and dignitaries from driving near the match venue.