Airport upgrade runs into problems

Posted On Monday, 24 August 2009 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Unforeseen constructional delays at the East London Airport have shifted the scheduled completion date of the upgrading.

Infrastructure IndustryUnforeseen constructional delays at the East London Airport have shifted the scheduled completion date of the upgrading from November this year to March next year.

Airport manager Michael Kernekamp said he was confident the upgrade would be finished by March 31, 2010 – in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Kernekamp said the delay was due to a number of construction problems that were not foreseen during the planning stage of the project, which is estimated to be valued close to R100 million .

“As the airport developed, we encountered new problems which we had not anticipated. “Most of them are infrastructure-related issues, where we have had to replace services like old water pipes that were installed years ago in 1966, when the airport was originally built,” he said.

Kernekamp said the current economic recession was not a factor in the delay because they were still within budget. “Although we had massive increases in steel and cement prices, we were still able to cope because we made provision for increases in these difficult times,” he said.

Head of Operational Services Evert Terol said they had been working day and night to complete the refurbishment of the airport, which started in February last year. “Most of the night work takes place in the public areas after operational hours to finalise new ceilings, power cabling and lights, floor tiles, installation of air-conditioning, a fire detection system and a new public address system.”

He said the bulk of the work had been done, but the finishing touches would take longer than initially thought because they had to do the work and keep the airport operational at the same time.

“This was the difficult part of the project, to keep the passenger flow normal and safe, and prevent delays,” said Terol. Terol said the new, fully air-conditioned terminal building, about which many had previously complained, should please travellers using it. “This goes back many years … people have been sending us complaints regarding the lack of air-conditioning.

“Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) is happy to finally close the chapter on this long overdue issue,” he said.

Terol said Acsa’s East London Airport team appreciated the public’s patience and tolerance for the inconvenience caused by the on-going work . “East Londoners will be proud of the final product we will be presenting soon,” he added.

The most significant upgrade is the terminal building, which houses both arrival and departure terminals and handles about 60 000 people every month .

Terol said in mid-September, they would start with the installation of a public parking pay-on-foot system, such as the one in operation at the Vincent Park shopping centre, to eliminate queuing at parking exits.


Last modified on Thursday, 31 October 2013 12:43

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