The memorandum hammered out by big players such as NMBMM Mayor, Councillor Athol Trollop, the CEO of NMBT, Mandlakazi Skefile, and Acsa Group Executive of Business Development, Charles Shilowa, will assist with facilitating the city’s growth.
According to Trollop said Nelson Mandela Bay is a growing metropole for trade and tourism and the activities around these are facilitated through Port Elizabeth International Airport. “This plan between the airport and the city will further support the economic growth of the region, and the airlift project is one of the key pillars to enable seamless movement of people, goods and services linking with both water and air transport.”
ToursimUpdate.co.za reports the PE International Airport is optimally positioned as a city airport, an important gateway to the tourism market, and easily accessed. It is also favourably within 25 kilometres of the industrial cluster of the Coega Industrial Development Zone, which is demarcated as one of the country’s largest Special Economic Zones.
According to the MMC for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, Councillor Andrew Whitfield, the air access project will take a three-phase approach:
- Phase one will include the scoping of key new and existing routes at national, regional, and intercontinental level to enhance trade and tourism.
- Phase two will involve analysis of potential markets, identification of potential airline partners, research and development for the airlift strategy and a three-year implementation plan for the establishment of new routes linking PE International Airport.
- Phase three will require the implementation of the identified route opportunities and development of incentive schemes.
“The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and NMBT, as critical and key stakeholders to this agreement, will play an integral and pivotal role in the implementation of phases two and three of the airlift strategy. We also hope to have more and direct private-sector participation in the programme,” added Councillor Whitfield.
The parties have all recognised the need for a co-ordinated approach when implementing the airlift strategy. They have therefore committed themselves to signing the MoU to ensure that the strategy is fully realised.