ACSA ramps up operational plans at airports in anticipation of peak-travel

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Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) says it has ramped up operational plans at airports in anticipation of peak-travel during the festive period.

The airports management company says it has stocked up on jet fuel, upgraded parking machines at major airports, improved security measures and launched a software application aimed at improving customers’ travel experience.

ACSA has also dismissed allegations of religious profiling where its random body-search measures are concerned.

ACSA says it has iinvested R100-million towards maintenance and the refurbishment of airports’ operating systems. ACSA CEO, Mpumi Mpofu says 95% of key infrastructure like elevators and escalators have been brought back into service to ensure a seamless travelling experience.

“For the Airports Company South Africa network, the busiest days are expected to be the 15th of December, and the 6th of January for departures and arrivals at our key hubs of O.R Tambo International airport, Cape Town International and King Shaka International. We have therefore developed detailed operational plans for each of these days of our projected air traffic movement and passenger numbers and expected travel times,” says Mpofu.

Mpofu says anyone wearing any sort of head gear will be subjected to a search, not only Muslim passengers. She says airports will continue to impose random body-searches in accordance with international operating standards.

“Allegations and misunderstanding from our Muslim passengers who felt like the procedure for patting down their head gear basically was targeted at the Muslim community, I must hasten to give you comfort that indeed was not the case. All people wearing head gear are searched or asked to take it off, and normally when they are not able to take it off they an option to they have the option of being searched privately,” Mpofu adds.

The Group Executives of Operations at ACSA, Terence Delomoney says the airline industry has seen a robust post-pandemic recovery characteristised by a 70% rise in passenger numbers. He says the recovery has largely been driven by domestic travel with international travel only expected to pick up next year.

“So despite our seat capacity only recovering by 67%, we find that our total passenger numbers have recovered by 70%, which means that the aircrafts that are currently operating are operating at much higher load factors in fact their load factors exceeding 80% and some cases over 90% of the number of seats that are occupied,” says Delomoney.

The Airports Company South Africa says it has collaborated with the tourism department and will use tourism students to assist at various networks during the festive season.