Construction of a R250-million world-class aviation centre, adjacent to the Cape Town International Airport (CTIA), is currently under way and is expected to be completed by February 2009.

This aviation centre is intended to support and service the growing number of private jets and helicopters that are frequenting CTIA.

Speaking to Engineering News Online at the launch of the development on Wednesday, ExecuJet South Africa MD Ettore Poggi explained that the extensive list of recent foreign dignitaries, high-profile business people and celebrity visitors to Cape Town revealed the extent of the need for this facility.

“In particular, this facility will provide a service to those who do not travel on commercial airlines, and who represent the very uppermost earning percentile in the world,” elaborated Poggi.

“Similarly, the imminence of the 2010 soccer World Cup and the influx of high-net-worth individuals it represents makes the centre even more relevant.”

Poggi added that the development of this aviation centre was also a response to the rapid growth in the local business tourism sector, which saw a 14,5% growth between 2006 and 2007.

ExecuJet, which would be the anchor tenant of this aviation facility, was currently in negotiations with the Department of Home Affairs to include dedicated customs and immigration services within the centre.

The project was the brainchild of local property developer Dave Mostert and had the financial backing of the Cape division of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.

CSV Construction and project manager for the development of this aviation centre, Johnny Cullum said that construction of this project began in earnest in December last year.

The aviation centre was being developed on commercial-freehold land adjacent to CTIA, with direct access and taxi rights onto the runways.

Cullum elaborated that construction was on schedule and that the hangars were on track for completion in August. However, the terminal building and offices were only anticipated to be completed by February next year.

Once completed, the aviation centre would include two hangars for private-jets and helicopters, a 10 000 m2 four-level terminal building with a split-level basement parking.

Of the total 10 000 m2 of floor area, ExecuJet and international aviation companies Agusta and Sikorsky were already signed up, leaving 20% available for other executive passenger services such as car hire agents, fuel suppliers and other related services.

However, Mostert believed that this project presented a significant opportunity for further commercial property development, particularly in the form of offices, around CTIA.

Once completed, the Cape Town-based aviation centre would be the second private-jet and helicopter aviation centre in South Africa as ExecuJet has operated such a facility at Lanseria airport since 2001.