04 Sep 2008
The new R2.3-billion central terminal building at OR Tambo International airport outside Johannesburg opened this week, with passengers now being processed through new international arrivals facilities, which including a more user-friendly customs control process.
Once arriving passengers have been processed through customs, they are received into a new international arrivals public concourse, which is two-and-a-half times larger than the previous international arrivals hall.
"Members of the public collecting incoming international passengers should take heed of the new signage in order to orientate themselves," OR Tambo GM Chris Hlekane said in a statement by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) this week.
"Passengers and meeters and greeters will also be assisted by Acsa's new i-Help Agents - identifiable by their orange waist coasts - located along the new route for any other queries."
ACSA will also open the central terminal building's retail facility, which is designed to link directly into the domestic terminal's retail level, next month.
"The opening of the 18 000 square meter space will also boast some retail facilities including a post office, cellular phone shops and foreign exchange services, with various eateries expected to open by December this year," the statement read.
The international and domestic terminals at the OR Tambo airport will be fully linked by April 2009, when the central terminal building's departures facility becomes operational. The new departures hall will contain 75 new check-in counters, effectively linking the airport's international and domestic check-in facilities.
At this point, passengers will be able to enjoy a fully complete multi-level terminal building located between the international and domestic terminals. In line with existing airport flow, departures activity will predominantly be on the upper level with arrivals activity on the ground level.
The mezzanine levels of the central terminal building will offer retail facilities and basements will be in use for services and baggage handling.
'ON TRACK FOR 2010'
The project will be fully complete in December next year following the complete installation of the new baggage management system at international arrivals.
Once the system is complete, a total of 10 new baggage reclaim carousels will be in operation, four of which are 90-metre baggage carousels specifically designed for the massive new generation aircraft such as the Airbus A380.
Further, the construction of the airport's Gautrain Station has been completed and the shell has been handed over to Bombela for final finishing, making the station the first to be completed.
The rail line will be elevated above the airport precinct, over the upper roadway system, and will be directly connected to the central terminal building.
"[The] opening is an important milestone as it marks the start of the completion of the final piece in our massive infrastructure development programme in the run-up to 2010," Hlekane said.
"It gives me great pleasure to declare that OR Tambo is on track for 2010 and beyond."