Mthatha airport upgrade bid process to be fast-tracked
East London - The Eastern Cape Transport Department is working on fast tracking the tender bid evaluation process in order to get work started as soon as possible at the Mthatha airport.
Department director of communications, Ncedo Kumbaca, said following last week's deadline for tender submissions, the department's bid evaluation committee would sit this week to evaluate the bids and appoint a contractor so work can begin on the multimillion rand upgrade.
"Acting head of department, Linda Salie, has instructed the committee to ensure the quick appointment of the contractor, who is expected to begin work 90 days after appointment," said Kumbaca.
He added that the project is expected to take 10 months to complete. The upgrade is part of the department's Blue Skyway Aviation Strategy, aimed at improving conditions and services at provincial airports, particularly Bhisho and Mthatha airports.
Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu said last week that the department wants to see an airline operate between Cape Town and Mthatha, via Port Elizabeth and Bhisho. The service is geared towards faster movement between these areas and ensuring the airports are economically active.
Marawu made the announcement just days after the South African National Taxi Council announced their intentions of launching an airline that will initially operate between Gauteng and the Bhisho airport.
"We welcome any effort that contributes to the realisation of the Blue Skyway Aviation Strategy objectives," said Marawu.
Kumbaca said prospective investors attending an international investors' conference in Cape Town last month were positive about investment opportunities for the airport.
"There were companies that showed interest and the department has mandated civil aviation director Noel Godwin to further engage with these potential investors," said Kumbaca.
By Sithembele Sakati
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