South African Airways and the Airports Company of South Africa conducted a test flight to Durban’s new King Shaka International Airport on Thursday. The flight generated much excitement at the venue. Vumani Mkhize brings you this report.
Its been almost 50 years in the making this new airport in La Mercy ! IN all the eyars that I used to fly out of Virginia Airport and see this mound of yellow sand just stagnating was an eyesore. We used to do youch and go landings on what was at one stage a runway, but my how times have changed. I hope that Viginia Airport down not have to relocate as basically there is now where for to reloate to and many of thr workers at Virginia are all housed in Durban North and will not want to travel to Loius Botha Airport. Any way congratulation on finally getting the new airport finally completed
I made so many typing errors that I have decided to re do the post I wrote above:
Its been almost 50 years in the making of the La Mercy airport. In all the years that I used to fly out of Virginia Airport, and look down on the mound of yellow sand that was just stagnating was an aboslute eyesore. The ground was so hard and compact that we often used the land to practice forced landings and do ” touch and goes” on what was at one stage a partially completed runway.
But my how times have changed. I sincerely hope that Virginia airport does not have to relocate, as that is now an Icon and should be left for eternity. At the time Virginia Airport was being built ,we liverd in Fairway, and to get there, one had to drive down through sugar cane tracks to get onto the runway.
There really isnt anywhere to relocate Virginia Airport, and the Louis Boths Airport will probably be turned into an industrial area. Most, if not all of the people who work at Virginia, all live close by, and wont want to relocate to Louis Botha.
But at long last the La Mercy airport that was once a white elephant is coming to life. One can only hope it will be a success. I Hope one day I can return from Australia to Durban and come through the new airport.
I made my 1st trip from the new airport and in my opinion it is a most badly designed project from a passenger perspective for teh following reasons.
Overnight Parking is a ridiclous R 75 per day – OR Tambo starts from R 25 p day for shaded parking.
The shuttle service only will drop you within the parking lot and not any closer to the terminal, what is then the point of calling it a shutrtle service.?
From where the shuttle dumps you, the passenger is required to push a trolley with at least 25 kgs of luggage up an incline on the paved section to teh terminal building. Did the planner consider how a oman with an infant and luggage for both of them would manage this ? what about the elderly, infirm or plain unfit person.
There are no seats at the boarding gates so people just have to stand.
The toilets are so far apart that an elderly person or walking impaired person will never reach them in time.
The distances to reach the boarding gates and teh luggage collection points are ridiculous and there are no travelators for the use of the elderly or walking impaired.
The above glaringly shows that passenger comfort / convenience were not at the forefront of the planners of this airport.
The so called Helpers just stand in groups talking amongst themselves which is useless.Who is monitoring and telling them to do their job ?
I returned on Saturday evening and at 7pm I was told there is no shuittle service. I was forced to walk in the rain with my luggage to my car – totally unacceptable service.
It is a MOST UN USERFRIENDLY facility in most respects when it comes to teh needs of passenfgers that I have encountered in any major city and we call it an International Airport.
I have just returned through Singapore’s Changi Airport which makes the facilities at this one look like a passengers bad dream or worse……………………………………
I intend planning my future domestic trips ( mainly to Jhb ) by road instead of supporting this hopeless facility that has been forced upon us with really dumb plannning..
I have no problem your publishing my letter anywhere as I stand steadfastly by my comments.
AS the previous poster commented “this is not a passenger friendly airport”. Arriving from Dubai my thoughts were that it would have been easier, and possibly quicker, to have walked from Dubai and then flown from the aircraft dock to the passport control. The architect should be made to do a customer satisfaction course. Walkavators would be helpful. A very badly laid out airport building.
Dear Peter, you really, really don’t want to come through this “built from left overs from O R Tambo upgrade bits” .
My wife and I went to this so called airport yesterday to drop off our son, and had to walk for miles!!! ,On arrival we had to park at the end of the earth and there was no help, what shuttles seen……?????
I agree, didnt they think they of the infirm and elderly as we watched passenges walk with small kids and heavy luggage , Do the planners know what a travellator is?
While sitting outside Kfc, some customs members walked over and sat down, ,one virtually lying in his seat, I got up and went to his senior and told him to ask the man to sit up as it looked disgusting and this was a so called international airport and they were in the public view, police members were constantly buying food, dont they have a duty to do there, ,there are some “props”at the escalators , I dont know what their purpose is but they either stand like mummies or chat to each other, not once did I see anyone being helped ,and I was at this airport for over 3 hrs.
I think officials need to go to London and see how airports are run.
I agree the cost of parking at R75 per night is outrageous. What a rip off. But I suppose they will charge these prices as long as there are fools like me who have to park there.
And further agree with the distances one has to walk. Who designed this.
I am impressed, I must say. Very seldom do I encounter a blog thats both educational and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your blog is outstanding; the issue is something that not many people are speaking intelligently about. Im really happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to it.