Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) today together with key stakeholders including Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBMM) and the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance air service connectivity between national gateways and the city of Nelson Mandela Bay through Port Elizabeth International Airport.
Present at the signing was Mayor of NMMM Councillor Athol Trollip, CEO of Nelson Mandela Tourism (NMBT) Ms Mandlakazi Skefile and Mr Charles Shilowa Group Executive of Business Development at ACSA.
This memorandum will assist with facilitating the city’s growth. Councillor Trollip said: “Nelson Mandela Bay is a growing metropole for trade and tourism and the activities around these are facilitated through Port Elizabeth International Airport. This plan between the PE airport and the city will further support the economic growth of the region, and the airlift project is one of the key pillars to enable seamless movement of people, goods, and services linking with both water and air transport.”
Port Elizabeth International Airport is optimally positioned as a city airport which is an important gateway to the tourism market, easily accessed by the local business and residence. It is also situated favourably within only 25km from the industrial cluster of the Coega Industrial Development Zone which is demarcated as one of the country’s largest Special Economic Zone.
The air access project will take a three-phase approach. Phase one will include the scoping of key new and existing routes at national, regional, and intercontinental level to enhance trade and tourism. The second phase will involve analysis of potential markets, identification of potential airline partners, research and development for the airlift strategy and a three-year implementation plan for the establishment of new routes linking Port Elizabeth International Airport. The third phase will require the implementation of the identified route opportunities and development of incentive schemes.
“The NMBT as a critical and key stakeholder to this agreement will play an integral and pivotal role in the implementation of phases two and three of the air lift strategy. We also hope to have more and direct private sector participation in the programme,” added CEO of NMBT Ms Mandlakazi Skefile.
The parties have all recognised the need for a co-ordinated approach when implementing the air lift strategy. They have therefore committed themselves to signing the MOU to ensure that the strategy is fully realised.