The Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport on Friday invited potential investors to enter proposals for the further development of airport facilities at the Bhisho airport, where a R70-million upgrade had been completed this week.

“Our doors are wide open for any investor that wants to come forward and add value in this project, which seeks to breathe new life to the Bhisho airport,” said Eastern Cape Roads and Transport MEC Gloria Barry.

The department expected proposals to include the development of business facilities, vehicle hire, shuttle services and catering services, among others, it said in a media release.

The upgrade formed part of the province’s Blue Skyway aviation strategy, which aimed to improve the potential of the Bhisho and Mthatha airports, as well as to bring new life to rural airstrips within the province.

A R60-million upgrade of the Mthatha airport would start in August, while Barry would, in September, launch the airport-renaming process for both the Bhisho and Mthatha airports.

Meanwhile, the Bhisho airport was currently being used for the training of pilots by 43 Air School, which would train a group of student pilots from India in August.

The three-year phased training of a further 180 student pilots and 120 aircraft technicians from Southern Sudan would start later this year, with 66 students in training by December.

A group of European student pilots would also receive training at the airport next year.

The department said that these developments were expected to increase aircraft movements at the airport from 100 a month to 4 000 a month.