SA airports firm apologises

2010-07-09 07:09

Johannesburg - Airports management has apologized for the diverted flights that resulted in hundreds of World Cup fans missing the Spain-Germany semifinal in Durban.

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) said on Thursday it was investigating how six scheduled flights could not land at King Shaka International due to air traffic congestion. At least 600 fans bound for the semifinal on Wednesday missed the game.

ACSA has blamed some private aircrafts that defied instruction to divert to other airports. This clogged parking bays, making it impossible for other planes to land.

ACSA managing director Monhla Hlahla said she apologizes "to all South Africans, and most importantly, all fans that missed the opportunity to attend the semifinal in Durban."

Attendance at Moses Mabhida Stadium was 1,800 below capacity for Spain's 1-0 victory.

At a news briefing on Thursday, South African World Cup organizers said security arrangements for flights by "heads of state" into Durban contributed to the delays.

Organizing committee chairman Irvin Khoza said freeing up air space had a "knock-on effect", and more than 200 charter flights came into Durban on the day of the game.

FIFA secretary general secretary general Jerome Valcke said the football body would not meet any costs incurred by fans who missed the game.

"It is not our responsibility," Valcke said, when decisions on flights had been made by air traffic controllers.

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