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For the third year in a row, this airport is the best in Africa and here’s why

June 04, 2019 at 11:00 am | We Tour

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Associate Editor

June 04, 2019 at 11:00 am | We Tour

Cape Town International Airport. Pic credit: Cape Town ETC

Cape Town International Airport, the primary airport serving the city of Cape Town, South Africa, has, for the third consecutive time, been named Africa’s leading airport at the 26th World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2019.

The prestigious awards ceremony, which was held in Mauritius, was graced by senior executives from top travel companies, including operators and representatives the CTIA.

“Once again Cape Town International Airport is honoured to receive this esteemed industry award. The World Travel Awards are globally recognized as the ultimate independently assessed travel accolade, so being named Africa’s Leading Airport for the third consecutive year is both a testament to the ongoing hard work and commitment to excellence demonstrated by all staff at this airport.

“This award is also viewed as a challenge for us not to rest on our past achievements but to continue to work hard to remain an award-winning airport,” Cape Town International Airport, General Manager, Deon Cloete was quoted by IOL.

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Cape Town International Airport. Pic credit: Cape Town ETC

The World Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.

Cape Town International Airport, which is the third largest airport in Africa, has direct flights to several destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe and ranked among the best in the world.

Located approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the city centre, the airport was opened in 1954 to replace Cape Town’s previous airport, Wingfield Aerodrome. It remains a firm destination of choice for global travellers and over the past few years, it has shown sustained growth in international passenger numbers with a 9.6 per cent increase in 2018.

Growth in international passengers has been in double digits for the past few years, according to Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), which manages the airport.

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Growth in international passengers has been in double digits for the past few years at the airport. Pic credit: TimesLIVE

For the first time in December 2016, the airport exceeded the 10 million passenger-per-year milestone‚ which repeated in December 2017 and 2018 when passenger numbers significantly exceeded the 10 million passenger mark, according to the IOL report.

The fresh and modern airport, with an easy-to-navigate layout, boasts of a library, hotels, a budget-friendly grocery store, and a few pay-to-use lounges and friendly staff. Through partnerships such as Cape Town Air Access, the airport has seen 15 new routes and 19 route expansions since 2015, and a doubling of international seat capacity by 1.5 million seats, said the IOL.

This February, the airport announced a $516m makeover with a new runway, and new international and domestic departure lounges to meet growing demand. The makeover will be in addition to the 3,500-meter runway realignment that will allow larger aircraft, such as the world’s largest passenger airline, the Airbus A380, to land at the airport, according to a report by Construction Review Online.

Cape Town International Airport named best in Africa. Pic credit: Cape Town ETC

Officials at the airport said the baggage hall will be designed “to swell significantly to accommodate additional baggage collection carousels, and the meet-and-greet area will be reconfigured.”

That part of the project, which is said to cost about $287 million, also allows future expansion of the airport terminal towards the runway, to accommodate additional aircraft. These key infrastructure projects are expected to be completed in four years.

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Cape Town International Airport has been named Africa’s leading airport. Pic credit: Airports Company South Africa

Airports are the main points of entry for people, including foreigners, hence they should not be seen as mere transport facilities, but should be welcoming, accommodating and secure.

In Africa, countries are investing billions of dollars in the rehabilitation of old airports and construction of new ones to ensure a well-organized, clean and pleasant travel experience.

This year, the UK-based international air transport rating agency, Skytrax ranked only four African airports among its World’s Best Airport in 2019, with Cape Town International airport grabbing the top spot for the fourth time.

At the World Trade Awards, the following airports were nominated for Africa’s Leading Airport in 2019, with South African airports dominating:

  • Cairo International Airport, Egypt
  • Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya
  • Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Kigali International Airport, Rwanda
  • King Shaka International Airport, Durban, South Africa
  • Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
  • O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa

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