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East London Airport

Airport Profile

 

The East London Airport Profile provides pertinent general information, such as Airport location, ownership, and overall size. The airport is small in size and handles mainly passenger traffic of approximately 2,500 per month. Air cargo figures are slightly lowers at 350 tons /month. Out of approximately 346, 000 passengers in 2004, 140, 000 were domestic holiday makers while 15% were foreign tourists.  

 

The airport is categorized as a Public Airport with the following World Aviation codes: 

IATA  Code:     ELS 

ICAO  Code:    FAEL 

 

The airports attributes at a glance are the following: 

·           International License 

·           Proximity to the Port of East London  

·           Proximity to the ELIDZ 

·           Good to fair road and rail network 

 

 Airport Location

 

Coordinates: 33 degrees 02’ 06” S 

                        27 degrees 49’ 16” E 

Elevation:        AMSL 133 m/436 ft 

The airport is located in East London (Buffalo City Municipality), on Settle Road, a two lane road, about 60 kilometres from Bisho Airport (a government owned and operated airport).  The city is 674 kilometres south-west of Durban and 1,079 kilometres, east of Cape Town (the two extreme east and west coordinates in the aviation profile of South Africa).    

 

The historical development timeline for the airport can be described as follows:

·           1927:   Lieut Colonel Alistair Miller requested the Town Council to establish a municipal aerodrome at Woodbrook, west of the city. 

East London

 

·           1931:   Passenger flights undertaken by 2 de Havilland Moth planes (Saturday afternoons only and Sunday – all day). Weekday flights had to be by arrangement only. It took 11 hours form Windhoek, Namibia to East London. 

·           1944:   New airport built at Collondale, 2km west of current Terminal Building. 

·           1965:   Airport moved to its present site, 9km west of city centre. 

·           1966:   Construction of terminal building completed. Airport named Ben Schoeman (then minister of transport) 

·           1994:   Airport renamed to East London Airport. Major upgrades/renovations to the terminal building. New 1st floor office development for Airport Management staff added. 

 

 Airport Ownership

 

The airport is owned and operated by the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA). ACSA is solely responsible for approving plans and expenditures for airport facilities. They are also responsible for data to day administration of all activity via the appointed Airport Manager. Management, security and all parking controllers are activities that fall under ACSA Executive staff. SAA and the Equity Aviation supervise baggage ramp and passenger handling. 

 

Size of the Airport

The airport serves over 422, 672 enplanement, which translates to an increase of 11.5% from 2003. The airport provides air cargo handling, approximately 350 tons monthly in basic perishable and emergency category cargo.  

Airport Activity  

 

This is a small airport, but has all the required commercial licenses to operate both passenger and air cargo. The primary revenue generating source continues to be passenger traffic and airport taxes (landing fees).  

 

Air passenger Activity

 

The passenger volume (April 2005 – April 2006) is show in Graph 1

 

 

Graph 1-2: Passenger Enplanements     

Source: ELS Feasibility Study – ACSA and van der Meer - 2006 

 

 

Air Cargo Activity

 

SAA Cargo Building and Express Air Services are located near the airport building. There are two main cargo operators in the airport, SAA and Express Air Services. SAA warehouse capacity is 40 – 50 tons. Within the warehouses, cargo preparation and processing is handled. Express Air Services utilizes 1-Time aircraft’s belly-hold. 

 

 

Imported (kg’s)  

Exported (kg’s)  

Freighter + air truck 

4.500 

1.500 

Passenger aircraft 

2.400 

1.500 

Daily 

6.900 

4.700 

Monthly 

209.760 

142.880 

Percentages 

59.5% 

40.5% 

 

 

 

 

The yearly overview is indicated in Graph 1-1 @ Boeing 747 freighter capacity of 113.000 kg cargo. 

 

General Aviation Activity

 

There are a few hangars for private use. The GA facilities are located separately, fenced off with approximately 400/900 monthly movement.  

Military Activity

 

No data available to quantify activity levels, condition, etc. 

 

Airspace and Air Traffic Control 

 

Due to the size of the airport, its taxiway infrastructure is simple with the CAT I approach on runway 29 and CAT II at runway 11.  These help facilitate safe landing even at low-visibility. 

 

Airspace Classification

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities contain the following infrastructure (airside as well as landside); namely, runways, aprons, taxiways, ATC, support facilities, etc.

 

Airfield Facilities

 

Elevation  

435 ft (132,63 m)  

 

Operational hours  

06:00 – 20.30 (local time)  

 

Runway 06/24  

1589m(length)X46m(wide)  

 

Runway 11/29  

1935m(length)X46m(wide)  

 

Instrument Landing System  

Yes ( CAT I & II)  

 

Runway lighting  

Yes  

 

Air Traffic Control  

Yes  

 

Aircraft fuelling  

Yes (Air BP)  

 

Cargo handlers  

Yes (SAA Cargo & Express Air Services)  

 

Push back   

No  

 

Hotels  

No  

 

Car rental  

Yes (AVIS, Europe car, Budget, Hertz, etc)  

 

Fire fighters  

Yes (CAT 7 = length of the aircraft fuselage is 39m up to but not including 49m. The  fuselage width is maximum 5m)   

 

Restaurant  

Yes (airport restaurant and coffee bar)  

 

Number of check-in counters  

9   

 

Number of gates  

2  

 

Source: ELS Feasibility Study – van der Meer (2006)


 

Map 2:     Aerial View of East London Airport (Runaway, Taxiways and Terminals)

Logistic-centre

 


 

 

Runways

 

Direction 

Length 

Surface 

 

(m)                    (ft) 

 

11/29 

1,935               6,348 

Asphalt 

06/24 

1,589               5, 213 

Asphalt 

 

 

 

 
The largest cargo aircraft ever used at the airport was a half loaded Airbus A300. Airfreight crafts commonly uses are Boeing 737 which has a maximum cargo capacity of 16 tons.

 

 

 

Taxiways and Aprons

 

Taxiway width is 23 metres, accommodating large wingspan aircrafts adequately. 

 

 

Passenger Terminal Facilities

 

The existing passenger terminal is adequate, handling both domestic and international passengers. There is adequate passenger handling, baggage and processing facilities with restaurants and ATM facilities. 

 

Automobile Parking Facilities

 

There are adequate parking facilities at the airport. Linear parking-drop-off zone is located just outside the passenger terminal. In addition, there is short term and long term parking surface parking (both sheltered and unsheltered) adjacent to the terminal.  There is staff parking separate from public parking facilities. 

 

Rental Car Facilities

 

There are upgraded facilities adjacent to the passenger terminal. The service providers are: Avis, Europe Car, Budget, Hertz, etc.) 

 

Air Cargo Facilities

 

SAA Cargo has a Building dedicated to air freight in proximity to the Airport. Express Air Services also uses 1-Time aircrafts to facilitate air freight operations via the aircraft’s belly-hole. SAA has warehousing where they process, conduct all relevant procedures for cargo. Existing space is under pressure due to land constraints in terms of horizontal expansion. The capacity is 40 tons, which translates to ~ 24 TEU’s space with balance as extra space.  

 

Airlines and Airline Support Facilities

 

The current operators at the airport are the following: 

·           SAA ( Cape Town and Johannesburg) 

·           South African Express ( Johannesburg and Durban) 

·           Airlink ( Port Elizabeth) 

·           1-Time (Cape Town and Johannesburg) 

 

Support Facilities 

 

The airport has a boutique of shops and restaurants, ATMs, telephones and public rest-rooms. There is a coffee shop, bookshop and ground transportation provided by taxis, limo services, etc. 

 

Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF)

 

CAT 7 = length of the aircraft fuselage is 39 m up to but not including 49 m. The fuselage width maximum is 5 metres. 

 

Fuel Storage and Delivery

 

There is a fuel farm in the airport with a service provider, Air BP. 

 

 

Airport Maintenance

 

There are maintenance facilities. No additional data available. 

 

Flight Kitchens

 

There are facilities at the airport. No additional information is available. 

 

Airport Administration

 

ACSA management have premises at the airport. The Airport Manager is responsible for day to day administration. Currently, the airport is gearing up for executing an Airport Master plan and also preparing for the 2010 FIFA world Cup and increased ELIDZ growth. Management is also investigating the feasibility of upgrading the airport into an air cargo hub. This is in discussions and one hopes that the proposed Master plan project process will better define the alternatives and a better informed development program is designed. 

Ground Transportation 

 

Ground transportation is provided by taxis, limos and other private tour busses targeting foreign tours. 

 

Roadway and Circulation

 

The airport is located on Settle road, two -lane arterial which connects to the CBD, the N2, and the wild coast - R 72.