Newly appointed Tshwane metro roads and transport MMC Dikeledi Selowa has her work cut out after she was tasked with reviving the ailing Wonderboom national airport in the north of Pretoria.
The airport was marred by back and forth litigation earlier this year as well as other problems.
While the airport used to host national flights to Cape Town, they were cancelled in May 2018 because of “non-profitability” issues.
The metro has since been trying to interest several national carriers to resume Cape Town flights at the airport, but with no luck.
Its ranking has also been downgraded because of infrastructure issues, which necessitated upgrades at the airport.
Selowa will be responsible for ensuring the airport is operating optimally and complies with its aerodrome licence obligations as per SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations, according to mayoral spokesperson Jordan Griffiths.
Selowa will also be responsible for the oversight of the airport.
This would entail direct and daily monitoring of the airport’s operations in collaboration with the relevant divisional heads and managers.
“Part of this will be to ensure that problems that contributed to the downgrading of the airport are addressed.”
Griffiths said plans for the airport included stabilising its management and initiating processes to staff it with appropriate and compliant expertise.
Litigation actions initiated against the city will also be addressed in addition to CAA non-compliance to re-obtain “at least” a CAT 5 airport licence again.
Other plans include enhancing maintenance requirements, resolving long outstanding property leases and initiating capex projects.
These will address compliance requirements and stimulate the airport’s development potential.
“The process has already started,” said Griffiths.
“Airport management already has a scorecard in terms of present non-compliance, budget requirements and an action plan to address issues of immediate concern,” Griffiths said.
Earlier this year, the North Gauteng High Court suspended the appointment of Ntiyiso Consulting, a transactional advisor intended to run the airport on the metro’s behalf.
This follows an urgent application brought forward by the Wonderboom Airport Interest Group (WAIG), who welcomed the ruling while the metro opted to appeal.
“This is a step in the right direction to ensure the airport is managed efficiently,” said WAIG chairperson Christian Maiorana.
Maiorana said the court’s decision would benefit the airport’s tenants as well as residents.
At the time, former mayor Stevens Mokgalapa said that they would appeal the ruling.
New mayor Randall Williams said the airport was a “priority” for his administration in his maiden speech upon accepting his appointment earlier this month.
This article was republished from Rekord East with permission