Architectural firms Osmond Lange and Ikemeleng Architects would, in a joint venture (JV), lead the 24-month R60-million refurbishment project at the Mthatha airport, in the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape MEC for Roads and Transport Gloria Barry appointed the JV on Tuesday during a visit to the recently refurbished Bhisho airport, also in the Eastern Cape.
The Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport said in a media release that more consultants would be appointed later this week, after a meeting between the Department of Roads and Transport and the Department of Public Works was held.

Barry would hand the site over to the contractors on September 25, while also launching the renaming process of the airport.

Both the Bhisho and Mthatha airports would be renamed, in a process led by the Eastern Cape Geographic Names committee.

The refurbishment of the two airports 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.

The Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport in August reported that the R78-million upgrade of the Bhisho airport had been completed and that it was looking for investors to further develop the airport facilities, such as vehicle hire, shuttle services and catering services.

Meanwhile, Barry had also announced that the department would, this month, start a process to recruit a further 160 traffic officers by 2009, as the department wanted to deploy 100 of these officers for duty during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“This initiative seeks to deal with the challenge of scarce skills, which continues to be irksome to the department and forms part of our contribution to skills development and job creation,” Barry said in a media statement.