The multimillion-rand project includes a facelift to the aviation infrastructure to cater for anticipated growth in passenger and cargo volumes, resulting in increased air traffic.
Vacant land around the airport is set to form part of the long-term developments.
The first face of the Airport Master Plan, which is expected to last until 2025 comprises of proposed developments and upgrades.
With over 20 hectares under indigenous vegetation being used as part of the project, the municipality commissioned the Institute of Natural Resources NPC (INR) to manage the process of applying for environmental authorization supported by a scoping and environmental impact assessment (SEIA).
Melanie Veness, Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce CEO said the proposed developments and upgrades would be a great milestone for the entire region.
“Pietermaritzburg Airport plays a major role in the whole region. It is not only advantageous to Pietermaritzburg but also to the Hillcrest area and Newcastle, it is central to the Midlands,” she said.
There will be an extension of the taxiway to service an extension of the aircraft apron as part of the infrastructure upgrades.
There will also be expanded facilities for aircraft maintenance and repair, and existing hangars will be reconfigured. A site will be allocated for the future expansion of the terminal building.
Access via a link to Washington and market roads will be improved alongside new parking area and drop-off zone, an industrial zone, and mixed commercial zones.
A technology hub will be located between the runway and western boundary of the airport on Oribi Road to provide for special sports, commercial, hotel and light industrial developments.
According to a report by the Witness, a multimillion-rand high-performance sports facility would be based at the Pietermaritzburg Airport as part of the proposed technology hub.
The proposal is spearheaded by the Union Cycleste Internationale (UCI), includes a velodrome with an indoor cycling track with the hope of attracting European cyclists during that continent’s winter months.
The development is expected to run over an extended period of 10-15 years, this is in response to market demand and other factors such as finance.
Funding for the layout of the technology hub is already available, together with bulk services. Construction is expected to kick off in the second half of 2016 and this will make the hub the first of the proposed developments at the airport.
A progress meeting with stakeholders is slated for this week with a focus group meeting for the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business set for early February.