Port Elizabeth airport ready for liftoff
The Port Elizabeth International Airport is back in business.
The airport is one of three — the others are Upington and Bloemfontein — that reopen on Wednesday for business travel.
The move was announced by transport minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday.
Airports Company SA (Acsa) spokesperson Gopolang Peme said the airport managers and staff had been preparing for weeks and would have all the required measures in place by Wednesday.
“Airports Company South Africa is aware that regional airports play a role in connecting the economy across provinces,” Peme said.
“We are looking forward to playing our role in supporting the national efforts to reconnect, recover and rebuild economic activity.
“On June 1, OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka international airports were reopened, and the new operating procedures have worked well and we have made some adjustments along the way.”
He said passengers should familiarise themselves with the new airport procedures.
One of the rules is that passengers must, on arrival at the airport, use the drop-and-go facilities or public transport as no-one will be allowed inside the terminals to see them off or welcome them back.
“Airport entrances will have a number of access points closed at each airport, passengers should visit the airports company website [to find out which ones are open],” Peme said.
“Passengers must produce their business-travel permission letters at the entrance, at the security check point.
“And passengers will produce their own paper-based or mobile-device-based boarding passes.
“Boarding will be done in a controlled manner, with passengers moving to the rear seats of the aircraft first and masks must be worn on arrival, for the duration of the flight, and out of the destination airport.”
Acsa developed these protocols through engagements with the Airports Council International and the International Air Transport Association.
The measures being implemented at SA airports conform to the standards recently set out by these organisations.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber CEO Nomkhita Mona welcomed the reopening of the Port Elizabeth airport, saying it was an encouraging step towards the restoration of economic activity in the region.
“It is critical that our provincial borders are open so that business can resume effectively,” she said.
“It will also be possible to get goods and other supplies in and out of the city much quicker — to expedite business processes.
“This is also testimony to Acsa’s state of readiness as they had to undergo Civil Aviation Authority inspection to satisfy the legislative requirements for opening.
“We call upon all passengers and all those who will be utilising the airports and aircraft, to continue to observe all Covid-19 prevention protocols at all times.”
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