Bright future ahead for Bram Fischer

ACSA’s Nombuso Msomi, President, Maungaung Chamber of Commerce & Industry Nancy De Sousa and Airport Manager Thabo Phateng. PHOTO: JUSTINE FORTUIN

Airport Manager Thabo Phateng believes there is a bright future ahead for the Bram Fischer International Airport as the airport has already made a 90% recovery since the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a meeting with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), Bloemfontein Courant was informed that despite the recovery period post pandemic being predicted for 2025, the airport has well surpassed the bench mark in 2023.

According to Phateng, in the 2019/20 [pre-pandemic] financial year the airport saw over 300 000 passengers pass through its corridors. These numbers significantly dropped in the 2020/21 financial year.

We have seen a fast recovery compared to what was predicted. ACSA had to come up with a strategy to weather the storm of the pandemic. This was called the Recover and Sustain strategy. The strategy was divided into three different horizons. 2021 till 2025 is horizon 1, 2026 till 2030 is horizon 2, and 2031 and beyond is horizon 3,” he said.

He added that the recovery strategy was guided by the three pillars of ACSA: run airports, develop and grow the footprint.

According to Nombuso Msomi, Senior Manager: SCM Governance, Compliance & Performance at ACSA, there are plans in the pipeline to better the overall experience at the airport. These plans include maintenance contracts and various projects that will happen in 2023 and 2024. One of these includes the rehabilitation of the runway at the cost of R200 million.

She further said ACSA’s main goal is to localise investment and procurement. “This needs to be done from supplier level to employees,” said Msomi.

She added that this needs to be done through transformation and it includes all aspects of ACSA, from IT to baggage handling. “We needed to find a way to source South African companies for these services and we want to do this on a regional and local level as well so that people from the local communities can benefit and feed back into the local economy.”

Justine Fortuin