The business community has hailed scheduled commercial flights between Newcastle and Johannesburg as a major boost to the regional economy.
The airport on the northwest of the KwaZulu-Natal province was previously used privately for chartered services.
The facility was opened on Wednesday with much fanfare.
#Headline R35-million Newcastle Airport officially opened @Lotusfm #sabcnews (Photo credit: Internet) pic.twitter.com/9ablUDvvtk
— Newsbreak (@Newsbreak_Lotus) April 17, 2019
The airport will be a game changer for the interior of KwaZulu-Natal. It’s strategically poised to provide critical gateway to Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Free State provinces.
Newcastle boasts major industries and is a stone throw away to the renowned battlefields and the Drakenberg.
With poor road infrastructure and traffic on the N3, the airport is set to ease travelling woes especially to the business community.
Johan Pieters from the Newcastle Growth Coalition says:
“We are right at the centre. We are now 45 minutes to Durban or Johannesburg. Airfreight can start happening from Newcastle and will be a game economic booster.”
The municipality spent R35 million upgrading the airport.
“We are opening ourselves to the entire country and also to make sure that we start on a good page and this will put us in a developmental trajectory and we reliase the vision that we spoke about vision 2035” says Newcastle Mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba.
The airport will also service nearby towns of Vryheid and Ladysmith.
It’s hoped that the first scheduled commercial flight to Johannesburg will be in two months’ time.
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