The Eastern Cape’s Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) could soon become a multi-platform international transportation hub with plans for a cargo airport under way.
The Eastern Cape propvince is home to automotive vehicle manufacturers such as FAW, Mercedes Benz, VWSA, GMSA and Ford, and the recently established renewable energy components manufacturing industry in the Coega IDZ.
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is to issue a notice for an environmental impact assessment study to assess the feasibility of establishing a cargo airport and an aeronautical or aerospace industrial cluster in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
Ayanda Vilakazi, Coega Development Corporation’s head of marketing and communications, said early this month that the corporation “is perfectly endowed with skills, resources and world class infrastructure at the neighbouring deep seawater Port of Ngqura, to be part of the global commercial aircraft manufacturing industry”.
The construction of a cargo or industrial airport would serve aeronautical and aerospace industrial manufacturing.
The activity could include the manufacturing of helicopters, aerospace engines, auxiliary equipment and parts, and propulsion units.
The industry could also possibly contribute to aerospace product prototypes, aircraft conversion and aircraft overhaul and rebuilding.
He said the cargo flights would be destined for both international and domestic airports to support the “city within a city” at Coega.
An added value benefit for investors, the airport would complement other industrial clustering, like agro-processing and automotive clustering, planned for Coega.
“The existing expertise, skilled labour and logistics services from the Eastern Cape’s automotive and manufacturing industries are important strategic advantages that can support the development of aeronautical and aerospace manufacturing in the region,” Vilakazi said.
The cargo airport would complement neighbouring deep seawater Port of Ngqura, to offer a suite of global commercial transportation services for the manufacturing industry.
CDC metallurgy business development manager Mogamad Sadick Davids said the project was beginning to take shape.
“Feasibility work has been done by industry experts which has yielded great potential for the project. The establishment of an advanced manufacturing cluster for aeronautical and aerospace industries has always been on our vision map,” Davids said.
The planned cluster would be located in Zone 14 of the IDZ, which stretches across 2086ha of land.
“Through the environmental impact assessment, we are a few steps closer to developing a possible new industry for Nelson Mandela Bay, ensuring further broadening of the economic base and growth through diversified industrial sectors and development for the region,” Davids said.