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Airports perform under pressure

2010-06-14 14:28
Hlengiwe Mnguni, News24

Cape Town - Airports around the country say they are coping with increased passenger traffic due to the World Cup, and are prepared for more.

On Thursday, the day before France and Uruguay met for their first 2010 World Cup match at the Cape Town Stadium, more than 23 000 passengers went through the gates of Cape Town International Airport. On the same day in 2009 just over 19 000 people were processed at the airport.

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) spokesperson Nonkanyiso Nyilika told News24 that operations at Cape Town International Airport, including the city's bus transport link, were "going okay", despite the increased traffic.

"Today (Monday) we have 148 flights," said Nyilika. On Monday Italy plays Paraguay in Cape Town.

On average, only 113 flights go through the airport a day.

'Very exciting'

Nyilika said the airport anticipated increased passenger traffic from the day preceding World Cup matches and the day after.

Other airports around the country have also experienced the rush of World Cup fans following their teams around the country.

"The last 24 hours have been very exciting," Acsa spokesperson at Durban's King Shaka International Airport, Collin Naidoo, told News24.

He said many of the German and Australian fans who had descended on Durban to watch their teams play at the Moses Mabhida stadium on Sunday had chartered planes to bring them into Durban.

Naidoo said other additional flights scheduled by airlines operated "till the wee hours of the morning".

He said although there were "slight delays", there was a "fairly good vibe" at the airport, with all scheduled flight taking off "jam packed".

He also praised the city on its shuttle bus service plan, and said he hoped the buses transporting people from the airport to the city centre could stay on after the World Cup as it made it easier for travellers to move around the city.

Extra flights

At OR Tambo International Airport, Acsa's Unathi Batyashe-Phillis told News24 the airport was also handling the influx of people well, with the airport's immigration desk processing just over 3 600 people per hour, just shy of the 4 000 target set by the airport.

However, the number of Gautrain services had to be increased on Sunday because of the high demand for the train, which transports passengers between the airport and Sandton,

While the turnout of African visitors has been less than anticipated, a Nigerian airline says it had to add three more flights to South Africa because of demand from World Cup fans.

"It was a last minute decision unique to the World Cup," said Arik Air vice-president Rodger Whittle, adding that the flights had been upgraded to larger aircraft to meet demand.

Meanwhile, state-run SAA has added 306 extra domestic flights to its schedule between June 12 and July 12.

SAA spokesperson Fana Zulu said the airline had also added an extra flight into South Africa from Ghana.

Read more on: acsa arik air saa air travel

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