MEC Ina Cronje Speech: Launch of KZN Winter Air Tour
3 May 2012Mayors
Members of the KwaZulu-Natal Winter Air Tour Steering Committee
Sponsors and Potential Sponsors
Officials of the Municipalities Capital Sounds
Members of the media.
Airports don't need flashy commercials to get people's attention. We have very skilful pilots, who like to show off doing loops and drops and other breath taking tricks, which the mere mortals on the ground admire.
I am thrilled to be part of the launch of the KwaZulu-Natal Winter Air Tour. Not only because of the fun and smiles that the actual air shows will put on the faces the visitors but also because air shows have an economic overflow that benefits the surrounding areas.
Regional airports can be valuable assets in tourism development, especially when combined with neighbouring businesses. Across the globe the days of travelling hundreds of kilometres to the nearest major airport are numbered. Global Aviation analysts predict a shift to point to point travel and it is estimated that regional and commuter aviation will have increased by 25% in 2016. The transition and development of multi-airport systems will be a key mechanism by which air transportation systems around the world will be able to meet future demand.
An article in the 2008 Journal of Transportation Engineering describes the benefits of developing regional airports.
- relieve congestion at primary airports while providing additional capacity to the regional air transportation system
- provide increased operational robustness by spatially decoupling operations and reducing the effects of disruptions
- offer new travel alternatives for residents of the region, which translates into reduced airport access distance and travel time
- generate direct, indirect and induced regional economic impacts (i.e. employment, revenue sources for surrounding cities from taxes, attract new companies, etc.), and
- reduce the effects of monopolistic positions that can sometimes emerge in single-airport systems.
All these benefits have great value for municipalities as it will increase their revenue. The green light is on to a healthy future for regional airports. Therefore the Provincial Treasury has invested R81.5 million over the past two years and the 2012/13 financial year to develop the Pietermaritzburg, Ulundi and Richards Bay airports. Of this, R44 million has been spent. Meanwhile funding proposals to include the development of the other three regional airports (Newcastle, Margate,Virginia) are underway.
The money invested in the Pietermaritzburg Airport – the first of the regional airports to be developed has already borne fruit. The number of people using the airport has doubled since we started renovations in 2010.
Regional airports are increasingly attracting interest from companies (big and small), who want to invest in their future. Thank you to all sponsors who have already come on board and those who will be joining soon. We also thank the KwaZulu-Natal Winter Air Tour Steering Committee for their hard work and the municipalities for availing the airports. The revenue generated at the air shows will be used to improve conditions at the airports.
With an expected 50 000 visitors attending the six air shows in Newcastle, Margate, Virginia, Pietermaritzburg, Ulundi and Richards Bay), the Net Present Value (sponsorship and visitors from outside KZN) is estimated to be over R7 million over the next three years. Of course many more people will be watching the sky spectacle in adjacent areas.
Surveys on air shows revealed that the visitors attracted to the shows fall in the higher average household income groups. Hotel beds will be filled, local restaurants visited and money will be spent at local stores, all adding up to job creation and a diverse but stabilising local economy. Where possible all goods and services needed for the air shows will be procured from service providers in the area.
Besides the short term benefits of hosting air shows, it also puts the spotlight on the aviation industry.
- it encourages future aviators to participate in the sport
- it inspires aviation manufacturers to improve the quality of their products and
- it attracts potential investors to establish freights services and other prospective businesses.
The long and the short of it is, air shows can be good business. It is also big fun, and a great way to meet your either your neighbour or people from across the country and even the globe.
Enjoy the air shows.
Ntokozo Maphisa (Media Liaison Officer)
Tel: 033 846 6986
Fax: 033 846 6801/2
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Treasury
3 May 2012
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