KMIA hopes Swazi­land will ben­e­fit from its suc­cess

Observer on Saturday - - News -

Kruger Mpumalanga In­ter­na­tional Air­port (KMIA) man­age­ment hopes that the air­port’s suc­cess will spill over into the prov­ince’s neigh­bours, Swazi­land and Mozam­bique, to strengthen ties be­tween the three.

KMIA cel­e­brated its 15th birth­day in style on Thurs­day. The cel­e­bra­tion was also held to thank all the stake­hold­ers which have sup­ported the air­port over the years.

“We be­lieve that we are an as­set to our beau­ti­ful prov­ince,” said CEO, Mar­ius Nel.

“I am proud of the small vic­to­ries we have achieved, re­al­is­ing that one can­not truly ap­pre­ci­ate the ma­jor suc­cesses if you do not cel­e­brate the smaller ones,” he added.

The first com­mer­cial flight landed on Oc­to­ber 21, 2002, the same month it was com­pleted. Its aero­drome li­cence was awarded just two days prior. Dur­ing its 16month con­struc­tion, over R300 mil­lion was in­vested in the prov­ince.

When it opened, KMIA had 78 staff, with avi­a­tion ex­pert, Rowan Torr, Charl du Plessis and a few fuel han­dlers with air­port ex­pe­ri­ence. To­day it boasts a staff com­ple­ment of 131.

“We lit­er­ally de­signed pro­ce­dures and im­ple­mented con­trols as we went along,” said Nel. In Au­gust last year, the KMIA’s three-mil­lionth cus­tomer landed. The air­port was not ini­tially wel­comed with open arms, though Nel and Tham­sanqa Ng­wenya, Deputy Di­rec­tor Gen­eral in the of­fice of the pre­mier, both be­lieve the air­port ben­e­fits the prov­ince.

“We are en­cour­aged by the close col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the air­port and the prov­ince,” Ng­wenya said. Through this col­lab­o­ra­tion, the air­port has been iden­ti­fied as a key gate­way in in­creas­ing the prov­ince’s ex­port of fresh goods to other coun­tries.

Ng­wenya went on to say that he hopes that the air­port’s suc­cess spills over into the prov­ince’s neigh­bours, Swazi­land and Mozam­bique, to strengthen ties be­tween the three.

“Our air­port re­mains a con­struc­tion site, con­tin­u­ously evolv­ing for the ben­e­fit of our op­er­a­tors and pas­sen­gers,” said Nel. This has re­sulted in a num­ber of im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing shops at the air­port.

With its con­tin­ued im­prove­ments, Nel said they hope to even­tu­ally in­clude an in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment park, an agri-pro­cess­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre and a ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre with a fo­cus on avi­a­tion. The air­port will also have a ho­tel and con­fer­ence cen­tre as well as ded­i­cated cargo op­er­a­tions.

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