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  • Dept of Transport looking at building new airports with ‘aerotropolises’

    Dept of Transport looking at building new airports with ‘aerotropolises’

    The Transport Department is paying more attention to South Africa’s airports. It is looking at how to fit them into the broader economy. They are aiming to widen existing international airports into ‘aerotropolises’.

    Government’s proposal contains a revised white paper

    The department is also looking at the need for smaller, less profitable airports. A proposal regarding the aforementioned also includes a revised white paper which was published at the end of last month. 

    The South African takes a look at some of the key changes proposed; 


    According to aerotropolis.com, an aerotropolis is a new urban form where cities are built around airports. These cities speedily connect time-sensitive supplies. The Department of Transport said that the concept of an aerotropolis should be supported at airports.

    “In other words, the creation of a city in which the layout, infrastructure and economy are centred on a major airport, following robust feasibility assessments determining the net economic benefit,”

    it said.

    Smaller airports

    The department said that the need for the development and management of smaller airports will be investigated. Mzansi currently has a number of smaller airports, a few are not commercially viable or are in close proximity to one another.

    High-speed rail

    The department says that international airports should ideally be linked with a scheduled or similar rapid transit system, regional rail system or a medium-speed local system. BusinessTech explained that this idea is similar to how the OR Tambo International Airport connects to the Gautrain.

    The Department of Transport wants international airports to be linked with rail systems like the Gautrain. Photo: Lonfunguy / Flickr

    Reduction of international airports and environmental impacts

    The above considerations will be considered with the reduction of international airports as well as the allocation of public funding, said the department.

    The department also noted that the environmental impact and sustainability of airports should be tracked and managed. 

    Integration of airports into the transport network

    The department said the national planning and integration of airports into the broader transport network needs to be coordinated with other sectors of Government.

    “Airport development should be planned holistically in accordance with a structured National Airports Development Plan, which would support national, provincial and local community objectives. Such development needs to complement the airport system, and in some cases may even allow for competition within the system, to the benefit of the user,”

    said the Transport Department.

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