King Shaka International Airport was officially opened on the 1st of May 2010 (in time to handle an increase in the amount of international travellers to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup).
Here are some facts about King Shaka International Airport:
- King Shaka International Airport is also known as La Mercy Airport.
- The airport is located 35 km North of Durban in the Kwazulu Natal province of South Africa.
- The airport has replaced Durban International Airport and is now the only international airport in the Durban region.
- The airport was first conceptualised in the 1970s, with construction beginning in 1973. By 1975 earthworks and a storm drainage system had been completed for the airport. However, the project was halted in 1982 due to the economic slowdown at the time.
- The project was revived in the late 1990s when the limitations of Durban International Airport became apparent. Durban International’s 2400 m runway was too short to accommodate large aircraft like the Boeing 747 which resulted in decreased international air traffic.
- The Environmental Impact Assessment was approved in August 2007 for King Shaka airport. Conditions attached were the appointment of an environmental control officer, issues of access from the nearby N2 freeway and fauna and flora issues. Construction started on the airport in the same month.
- Operational testing of the airport began in December 2009 and the airport started handling flights on the 1st May 2010.
- The airport name was approved by the South African Geographical Names Council in January 2010.
- King Shaka International Airport is capable of handling 7.5 million passengers a year.
- The King Shaka International Airport has 3700 metres (12,100 feet) of runways, a 102,000 square meters (1,100,000 square feet) passenger terminal and a 15,000 square meter (160,000 square feet) cargo terminal (which will be expanded in the future).
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