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O.R. Tambo International Airport ready to receive four million passengers over holiday period

Posted 19 December 2018 · Add Comment

O. R. Tambo International Airport is geared up to help an anticipated four-million passengers to get their holiday travels underway.

 

General manager of the airport, Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana, said the airport community is fully prepared for the busiest time of the year.

“About 38000 people are employed in and around the airport. Of these only about 1 400 are directly  employed  by us,” said Pityi-Vokwana. “We are fortunate that all our stakeholders appreciate that we work in an ecosystem  where running an efficient airport relies on continuous collaboration among thousands of people. Airport  operations  are  complex.  We  manage  volumes,  variability,  variety  and  visibility  in  a  live  environment where precision and predictability of service is the basis of our existence.”

She added: “The regulatory  demands  to  guarantee  civil  aviation  safety  require  effective  planning  and synchronisation  of  thousands  of  activities  every hour in the passenger’s journey from arrival on our  landside, to when the aircraft takes off, lands and passengers safely leave the airport.”

She said the airport has prepared thoroughly including contingency planning with the mutual support  of  the  airport  community  which  includes  airport  staff,  airlines,  air  traffic  controllers,  South  African  Weather  Services, ground  handlers,  contracted security  staff, retailers,  car  rental firms, mechanical, electrical,  civil  infrastructure  and  IT  equipment  maintenance  contractors,  law  enforcement  agencies  such  as  SAPS,  SARS  Customs  &  Excise,  Immigration  Services,  State  Security  Agency  and  many  others.

Pityi-Vokwana adds  that  a  recent  aircraft  crash  crisis  simulation  exercise,  overseen  by the  South  African Civil Aviation Authority as part of the airport licensing process, thoroughly tested the abilities  of  airlines,  air  traffic  control,  ground  handlers,  airport  management,  emergency  services,  law enforcement  agencies,  and  other  role  players around  Gauteng  to  respond  quickly  and  effectively  to  any situation. 

“In addition, airport staff and our safety and security partners have made tremendous strides over the past  18  months  in  intensifying  our  security  operations  and  combating  crime.  We  are especially  appreciative of the efforts of the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority in securing convictions and  lengthy  sentences  for  some  of  those  responsible  for  the  armed  robbery  at  the  airport  in  March  2017,” she said. 

The airport’s law enforcement agencies executing against the government-approved Integrated Multi-Disciplinary Plan has achieved notable successes in intercepting drug concealments over the past 12  months with 1,186 seizures of drugs with a total street value of R2.9-billion.

There were 676 arrests for all classes of crime, representing a 20% month-on month reduction in cases reported at the airport.

Pityi-Vokwana said:  “Aviation security is a highly regulated license-carrying responsibility. I am extremely proud of our security teams who are always willing to go the extra mile and demonstrate a tireless work ethic, often forfeiting meal breaks and willingly volunteering for overtime. Over 90% of the successes achieved by our passenger and hand luggage x-ray screening staff is attributable to diligence, teamwork and well-trained eyes studying passenger behavioural trends.

“This is always a very busy time for the airport. Among the four million passengers, most of them will be first -time flyers and substantial number of elderly people. The operational demands are therefore different at this time of year because of the different passenger mix. But I can assure travellers that it is all hands on deck for and we are ready. We look forward to a successful festive period and wish the best at this time for our passengers, staff and stakeholders.”

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