The South African National Parks (SANParks) has today announced the appointment of a preferred operator for the Skukuza Airport in the iconic Kruger National Park.
SANParks, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. David Mabunda said the successful bid was submitted by the Skukuza Airport Management Company (Pty) Ltd jointly owned by Lion Sands, Federal Air and Airlink. The consortium will sign a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with SANParks for a period of ten years.
The announcement follows a lengthy process of technical evaluation and adjudication of bids submitted in response to a Request for Proposals issued in April 2013.
According to Dr. Mabunda this development will benefit SANParks’ long haul clients and those from major centers who will no longer be subjected to a two hour drive from Nelspruit to the Kruger National Park. “We are reliving a tradition that started in 1959 to enhance visitor convenience and experience and we are looking forward to working with our new partners in taking the business of managing national parks assets to another level.”
In reacting to the announcement, Robert More, Lion Sands Co-founder and CEO said it is an absolute privilege to be involved in this venture. “Our lodges are all in close proximity to Skukuza and our customers will benefit significantly from re-opening the Skukuza airport to scheduled air services”.
Carl Trieloff, Commercial Director of Special Projects at Fed Air added, “We are proud to be part of the consortium behind the winning bid. We are looking forward to providing visitors the opportunity to experience a high quality affordable bushveld experience”.
Rodger Foster, Airlink’s CEO responded by saying his company is delighted to be in the consortium and looking forward to delivering scheduled air services to Skukuza, and access to all lodges within the Skukuza precinct. This is going to make travelling to the Kruger National Park simpler and affordable.
Skukuza Airport Management Company will be given access to the Skukuza airport facility from 1 September 2013, in order to commence with the alterations and improvements essential to bringing the airport to the international standard, which will include rehabilitation of the runway.
It is envisaged that the airport upgrades should be substantially completed by 1 November 2013 to achieve the necessary licensing by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). It is anticipated that the licensing process will be completed before the first quarter of 2014 with scheduled flights set to commence in March 2014.
In conclusion, Dr. Mabunda said, SANParks was highly impressed with the successful bidder’s operational plan for the airport and its associated air services. “This included a comprehensive environmental management plan to limit the noise impact of operations overarching minimized environmental impact philosophy.”
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications
Tel: 012 426 5065
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli
SANParks General Manager: PR, Media and Stakeholder Relations
Tel: 012 426 5203 cell: 073 373 4999
Annemi van Jaarsveld
SANParks General Manager: Business Development
Tel:012 426 5027; Cell: 082888145
Lion Sands Co-Founder CEO
Tel: 011 880 9992
Tel: 011 451 7300