South Africa: Airspace Restrictions Around Mthatha

Photo: enews channel
Nelson Mandela will be buried, next to his children, in Qunu in the Eastern Cape as he wished.

All flights scheduled to land at Mthatha Airport must have military authorisation, as restrictions for flight operations have come into effect in preparation for former President Nelson Mandela's State Funeral.

The restrictions started on Saturday and from Friday, 13 December, no commercial traffic will be allowed into the airport, except for the existing Airlink schedules and chartered flights under the control of the South African Air Force.

On Sunday, 15 December -- the day of Mandela's funeral -- no commercial flight will be allowed into the airport. In addition, no fuel uplifts will be allowed at the airport and all flights have been advised to carry enough fuel for their return legs.

Arrangements have been made at all airports to accommodate an influx of international visitors.

The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) today said it had put measures in place to handle any possible influx of visitors, such as Heads of State, who come into the country during this time.

"Normal major-event processes will be activated at O.R. Tambo International and East London Airports during this period. The company's operations team has already activated a number of controls to ensure smooth facilitation of passengers during this time," said ACSA in a statement.

Airport capacity

Capacity at the two airports is as follows:

O.R. Tambo International Airport

Hourly runway capacity (air traffic movements) - 53

Annual passenger handling capacity - 28 million

Public parking bays - 16 300

East London Airport

Hourly runway capacity (air traffic movements) - 24

Annual passenger handling capacity - 1.2 million

Public parking bays - 550 Temporary infrastructure has been created at East London Airport to handle more than the 2 000 passengers per day that the airports currently facilitate.

Extra staff has also been allocated for the airport to assist in dealing with additional services. Engagements between airports, airlines, ground-handling companies, government and law enforcement agencies are currently underway to ensure smooth processing.

Due to the expected increase in traffic and passenger volumes, flow restrictions as it applies to air traffic movements have been imposed, which includes parking restrictions for arriving aircraft.

Both scheduled and non-scheduled airlines will need to park in either a pre-arranged hanger or divert to another facility.

"Given Airports Company South Africa's expertise at managing significant increases in local and international passenger numbers, the company is confident that it can handle any operational challenges that it may be faced with during this period," said ACSA.

Public appeal

ACSA has appealed for public understanding and support as the airports strive to continue delivering world-class services throughout this difficult time.

The company said it would communicate any relevant impact on its services on its website, customer care line and the media.

Due to the expected increase in passengers arriving and departing from ACSA airports over the coming days, travellers are encouraged to arrive at least two hours before their departure time to ensure check-in, security and boarding procedures go smoothly.

Passengers are also reminded to be in constant communication with their respective airlines to validate traveling times. -

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