George Airport in the Western Cape is doing it again. Last year it made headlines globally when it launched a 750Kw plant to become the first airport in South Africa that will get a lot of its power from solar energy… and this year it has received exemption from the South Africa Civil Aviation Authority (SACCA) to upgrade from a CAT 7 aerodrome to a CAT 8 aerodrome.
This means that the small regional airport is now able to receive larger aircraft and that it complies with regulations for additional aircraft rescue… with enough firefighting personnel and sufficient fire tenders for the category upgrade.
The upgrade was processed after a request was received for an A310-300 aircraft to land at George Airport.
The aircraft is owned by a private tourist from the Middle East, who visits a Karoo game farm annually with his family.
Following a successful upgrade the Middle Eastern family’s aircraft landed on Friday, 7 April 2017 with 24 passengers and five crew members… and remained at the airport precinct until 13 April 2017, when it departed back to the Middle East.
Brenda Vorster, manager of George Airport, said they were “exceptionally pleased” with the exemption.
“This upgrade is good news for regional tourism and a feather in the cap of George Airport, which has displayed professionalism and proved that it has the staffing and infrastructure to accommodate larger aircraft with more passengers. This will support the growth of tourism industries and companies within the region,” said Vorster.
Airports Company South Africa, has six regional airports – Upington, Kimberley, East London, Bram Fischer, Port Elizabeth and George – all of which play a pivotal role in boosting regional tourism and supporting the economic and social development of South Africa’s more remote regions.