Old Dbn airport to be used
Durban – KwaZulu-Natal’s decommissioned Durban International Airport was on Wednesday used to cater for scores of chartered planes landing ahead of the semi-final march between Spain and Germany.
"We are using the old airport to park chartered aircraft. They drop off people at the King Shaka airport and go to park at the old airport," said Airports Company South Africa spokesperson Colin Naidoo.
He said there were between 30 and 40 charted planes parked at the old airport. They were being used by VIPs, including businessmen and celebrities.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, socialite Paris Hilton, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and actor Shahrukh Khan are expected to be at the game.
President Jacob Zuma and Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia are also expected to be in town.
The new R7.9bn airport, 60km away from the old airport, started operating on May 1, when the old airport was decommissioned.
Used as a back up
Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele told journalists before the opening of the new airport that the old airport would be used as a back up during the World Cup.
Naidoo said it was decided to park chartered planes at the old airport because they did not need too much assistance.
"We have not been caught off-guard by this big number of planes. We expected it, because Germany and Spain have a big following. We planned for the game properly," he said.
Planes were expected to fly back to the King Shaka Airport on Thursday morning to pick up passengers.
The new King Shaka had done well during the World Cup, he said. "The airport has been very successful in terms of organisation and the number of people who have used it."
The exact numbers of people who used the airport during the World Cup would be released immediately after the tournament.