KMIA hopes Swaziland will benefit from its success
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.