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Brandstories | 24 October 2023

As the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, the state-owned entity reflects on the significant socio-economic impact it has made since its inception.

As a key enabler of economic growth, transformation and socio-economic development, the company’s contributions can be seen in the previous financial year’s injection of a staggering R8.4 billion into South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) – positioning it as a vital role player in economic stimulation.

At the same time, ACSA has also established itself as a vital part of South Africa’s tourism value chain by developing world-class airport infrastructure - designed to meet the needs of its customers and aligned with industry requirements to support its vision of being a world-leading airport management business.

In South Africa, ACSA's current footprint includes airports in nine key business and tourism hubs, which service routes throughout the country.

“While we are celebrating ACSA’s 30th anniversary, we are also marking Transport Month in October - so it is only fitting that we take this opportunity to reflect on ACSA’s major contributions to the economy of South Africa and the vital role it plays in the tourism value chain,” says Laurene Less, ACSA Group Executive Corporate Services.

At a national level, ACSA’s network is a modal integrator that facilitates trade, tourism and investment. The organisation generates revenue through various sources, including aeronautical, non-aeronautical and commercial activities.

At a macro level, ACSA has developed a new global strategy to further South Africa’s foreign and bilateral relations in trade, tourism and air transportation; contribute to the broader continental focus on airport development and management; endorse regional economic integration; and maximise the potential benefit to the Group of the African Open Skies initiative.

Less states that ACSA is currently also exploring the diversification of revenue generation, with cargo being an area where ACSA could expand its role to other parts of the airports business, beyond just the facilitation of passengers and aircraft.

In addition to contributing R8.4bn to the country’s GDP in the past financial year, the organisation also contributed to employment with 16 225 jobs and an income contribution of R2.8bn.

Less notes that improved connectivity is integral to ensuring that South Africa remains a competitive investment destination for trade and tourism, with route and traffic development a key part of ACSA’s work to ensure it grows its footprint and enhances its connectivity as an airport network; boosting South Africa’s connectivity to global markets.

“ACSA has a centralised team that is tasked with looking after traffic development at all nine airports in its network. Our approach to route development is to look at partnerships with key entities and agencies that are within the aviation and tourism value chain,” she says.

“Since the formation of our business development team, we have participated in route development committees in each locality where we have an airport. These committees bring together critical stakeholders within the aviation and tourism value chain, allowing us to pool our resources to enhance our ability to develop traffic in all those regions.”

As such, ACSA not only provides airlines with world-class and secure infrastructure, it also promotes tourism, economic growth and job creation, to be a world-leading airport business. ACSA strives for excellence in all its business undertakings and continues to grow and diversify in an environment of rapidly changing markets, macroeconomic challenges and a volatile aviation industry.

“While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global aviation industry has been devastating, we are confident that with the foundation of a solid balance sheet, a strong reputation and an established competitive advantage, we are well placed to achieve full recovery and long-term growth,” says Less.

She adds that passenger traffic trends analysis shows the international tourism segment continues to be dominated by the European market, which accounted for 39% of international tourist arrivals pre-Covid. ACSA has thus identified the African market as a focus for development and ultimately aims to connect South Africa with every major city in Africa. This will significantly diversify the international source portfolio and support Africa’s integration agenda.

“ACSA remains committed to improving and expanding the infrastructure in our network to unlock both the commercial and development potential inherent in our airports and to grow our footprint, especially in Africa,” Less concludes.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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