The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government is optimistic that the provincial economy can be revived and more jobs created. This was stated during an inspection of King Shaka International Airport on Wednesday.
Speaking after inspecting the state of readiness of the airport, Premier Sihle Zikalala said he was pleased with the safety measures that have been put in place by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and its staff.
“As the provincial government and the KwaZulu-Natal command team on coronavirus, we have received a report on how this national asset has been deep cleaned. We are also satisfied with the reports we got on how the various airline carriers are implementing strict hygiene protocols in line with the directives of the minister of transport as well as international best practice,” said Zikalala.
Zikalala said vigilance at the airport remained important because any Covid-19 outbreaks related to airports would negatively affect the industry, travellers and the many who earn a living by working there.
King Shaka International Airport was one of four that transport minister Fikile Mbalula announced would be opening for domestic air travel for business and other essential travel as contained in the directions issued on the same day.
Zikalala said the airport was the heartbeat of the provincial economy and was important in reviving it.
“Our provincial economy has contracted by no less than R30bn and the tourism and hospitality sector has been hardest hit by Covid-19. Families are struggling to put a meal on the table and many business have been forced to close down.
“We must work together and succeed with our plans to build the planned globally competitive Durban aerotropolis, our envisaged city region, which has a potential of creating 750,000 jobs during implementation,” Zikalala said.
He called on travellers to embrace the new culture of doing things and to embrace the new normal of hand hygiene, social distancing, wearing of masks, and avoiding touching faces.
“It is truly in the hands of South African travellers to prevent avoidable deaths that can be caused by Covid-19, especially to people with underlying health conditions,” he added.