New airport, Cape Winelands Aero, will be an economic revitalisation with 58k job opportunities

Cape Winelands Aero, the new airport projection for 2027 and the year 2050. supplied image

Cape Winelands Aero, the new airport projection for 2027 and the year 2050. supplied image

Published Dec 17, 2023


Cape Town - A new airport that will have an airstrip fit for an Airbus A380 as well as all the luxuries of a modern airport able to take both domestic and international flights will revitalise the Cape Winelands.

Cape Winelands Aero (CWA) has been called an economic revitalisation with a R7.7 billion injection that will create 58 561 job opportunities between 2027 and 2050.

The Economic Impact Construction will be R24.1bn, with employment opportunities of R7.7bn and R6.6 million household income growth, while the Economic Impact of Operational Spending will be R43.4bn with 58561 job opportunities and R10.1m household income growth.

By 2027, the Northern District will have its own domestic and international travel airspace which is expected to carry 1.7 million passengers per annum and 3.8 million by 2040 and 5.2 million by 2050.

The airport is set to open for domestic and international flights with an expanded runway of 3.5km on a property covering about 900 hectares.

The current airport facilities, which are 80 years old, will be fully upgraded to be classified as a Code F airport, which specifies the requirements of facilities for the largest passenger airliners, such as the Airbus A380.

Cape Winelands Aero, the new airport projection for 2027 and the year 2050. supplied image

The executive board of directors includes veterans in the airspace industry who will see to management, advertising, planning, development and security. They include Nick Ferguson, managing director of RSA Aero Ltd, Deon Cloete, managing director of Cape Winelands Aero, Mark Wilkinson and Adele Klingenberg.

Cloete has occupied management seats at Cape Town International Airport, Durban Airport and SAA. Klingenberg, who has experience in aviation planning, has been behind the strategic planning and structure of the new space. Fabian Msimang, who was Chief of the SA Air Force, will be in charge of the security regulations,

Ferguson said the infrastructure would need an economic injection of R7bn and that the funding would have to be sought by various investors in the private sector, financial institutions, developers and local government.

Cloete said the planning behind any airport involved much research and development and assessment, and that learning curves would arise.

“You can never plan that this airport will be fantastic and there will be issues that will be dealt with, and you’ll have to show that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Airports do have a big issue with noise and you have to show how you mitigate that impact.

“We spent a lot of time looking at the runway, the orientation and design, consulting various specialists, navigational specialists and pilots and this is ongoing. Engagements with surrounding communities, which include Fisantekraal and Klipheuwel, have taken place with ward councillors and community leaders.”

They added that the airport aimed to be self-sufficient and off the grid for water and electricity as far as possible through renewable energy sources.

The City’s Mayco member for economic growth, James Vos, said the new airport promised much economic growth and opportunity for everyone in the region and assessments of environmental and noise impact were continuing: “This project promises to transform Cape Town’s land and skyscape, ushering in a new era of opportunity and prosperity.

“Thus far, significant progress has been made as demonstrated by the recent lodging of the Notice of Intent for Environmental Authorisation.

“This critical step reflects a commitment to responsible and sustainable development, marking a key milestone in bringing the vision to life.

“The Cape Winelands Airport is more than just a construction project – it is a launchpad of economic revitalisation.

“Positioned to be a hub for socio-economic growth, it promises to create jobs, support local business and enhance our city’s competitive edge.

“The strategic placement of the airport is an intentional move to expand our connectivity, creating new business and new tourism nodes. The new airport will also serve as a vital link between our metro and the world. Its enhanced accessibility is expected to attract visitors, thereby spurring growth in tourism and various business sectors.”

Cape Winelands Aero, the new airport projection for 2027 and the year 2050. supplied image

Bukiwe Cimela, of the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure for Minister Sihle Zikalala, said the new development would boost the economy: “We appreciate that construction development will create many work opportunities.”

Linden Birns, aviation expert of Plane Talking, said hiccups could be expected where funding and fuel were concerned.

“They still have to come up with the finance. For me that will be the acid test. It is a fabulous idea and I think there are still some questions regarding the reserve fuel and cargo having to carry that load.

“The key thing for me is, if you look at the forecasts for the industry, whether it is cargo or passenger transport or combined, when you speak to engine makers or manufacturers and industry associations, they all agree that the traffic will increase by 3 to 5% per annum, which is compound growth. That means the size of the market is doubling every 15 years.

“Air transport itself is a big job creator and an economic growth enabler. “The thing that worries me in the long run is where are they going to get the money from and will there be enough to sustain the airport.

“We do have a large population but relatively only a small portion are able to travel via air transportation.”

Provincial Mobility Minister Ricardo Mackenzie said they would be engaging further on the impact the development will have and strategise.

“Our department has been briefed on this project and will provide input in the various regulatory processes, including environmental authorisation, land use authorisation and the aviation licence.”

Thulisiwe Mkatshwa of Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) said the Cape Winelands Airport team had informed Acsa that a One Environmental Management System application for a scoping/EIA process was being undertaken.

“CWA also gave notice that a joint public participation process has been initiated. Acsa has formally commented on the proposed development via the joint public participation process.”