28 September 2018 – Garden Route District Municipality (Garden Route DM) and George Airport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signifying a commitment to enhance connectivity between national gateways, cities and surrounding areas through a 3-phase collaborative project.
After signing the MOU, Mr Charles Shilowa, Airports Company South Africa’s (ACSA) Group Executive Business Development, said: “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. There have been ongoing discussions between the ACSA team and Garden Route DM about access to the George Airport, which serves as a gateway to this district. The Airport is strategically positioned for economic activity, and this is one of the reasons why a partnership between ACSA and Garden Route DM – will ensure that the aspirations stimulating economic growth in the region are realised. This will be achieved as we continue to work together”.
The three phases will involve the following:
- Scoping of key new or existing air routes on a regional, national and intercontinental level, which will see trade and tourism enhanced; and
- A project team will be appointed to compile a list of business cases that focus on target markets and prospective markets that could be reached by a non-stop air service.
- The analysis of potential markets;
- The identification of potential airline partners;
- Research and development for the airlift strategy;
- A 3-year implementation plan for the establishment of new routes linking the Western Cape to other provinces and contents; and
- The establishment of the Steering and Project Committees through the nomination of representatives by all stakeholders.
- The implementation of the identified route opportunities;
- The development of incentive schemes for the latter; and
- The possibility of involving more direct private sector participation in the project.
Mr Monde Stratu, Garden Route DM Municipal Manager, also hinted at ACSA’s leadership to think about how the renaming of George Airport to Garden Route International Airport would affect the region. “When selling and marketing the region as a tourism destination and investment hub, it makes sense to speak from the same book,” said Stratu. He also made it clear that there is no obligation on any business to change their name, but that “there is every reason, for if you think about it, in marketing and strategy, to align oneself to this new name”.
ACSA owns and manages 9 airports, three national and 6 regional airports. George Airport currently forms part of the 6 regional airports. Airports Council International last year, awarded the George Airport with “Service” and “Safety” awards. This was done after comparing the airport to the rest of the African continent. This means that the George Airport is considered as one of the best regional airports in Africa.