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November 09, 2009

New departure terminal open – if you can bear to leave Cape Town

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After many months of planning and construction, the new departure terminal at the Cape Town International Airport opened on Saturday (November 7, 2009). 

As the 2010 FIFA World Cup draws closer and the upgrade to the airport surges ahead, the airport authorities have handled the demands of keeping air traffic, passengers and cargo moving while revamping the buildings and introducing new, world-class systems. For the last few months the new systems and processes have been put through their paces by airport staff, airlines, retailers and other businesses that operate at the airport in preparation for opening day.

Travellers to Cape Town can now start enjoying the benefits of all the dust, sweat and toil. The international departure terminal, costing R1,6-billion, has some impressive features designed to ease the flow of people, vehicles and baggage.

To smooth the transition from old to new, Cape Town International Airport has produced information booklets which will be handed out to help people find their way around. The terminal has a 200m-long departure hall,with 120 check-in counters and 20 self-service kiosks, a new drop-off zone, centralised security checkpoint, five new air-bridges, a viewing deck and 30 shops and restaurants.

Also coming in the next few months are a R394-million parkade with 4 000 parking bays, extra aircraft bays, more air-bridges, a bigger car hire area, a public transport plaza and an upgrade of the road system in the airport grounds.

The old terminal will eventually be given a new lease of life when it is converted into the air-side portion of the new terminal.  Meanwhile, the arrival terminals for domestic and international flights will have to wait until next year for their makeovers.

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