A new era of transport has dawned on Newcastle. No longer will Newcastillians be restricted to the tarmac when travelling.
This follows the official opening of Newcastle Airport, where aviation will take Newcastle to new heights.
“The leadership of Newcastle is extremely happy, as this is a historical moment for the town of Newcastle,” says Newcastle Mayor, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba.
Through the opening of the airport, Cllr Dr Mahlaba says Newcastle will start a new page in development. Attracting investors and ensuring the economy flourishes, while creating job opportunities.
“Part of the government’s plan is to create a substantial amount of jobs. We will now look at employing people from within the Amajuba District first, before looking elsewhere,” Cllr Dr Mahlaba ensures.
Furthermore, in terms of investors now looking at Newcastle, Cllr Dr Mahlaba says he believes various industries will now develop due to the establishment of the airport.
With Newcastle Airport allowing outsiders easier access to the town, how much did it cost?
“The airport cost R35 million which was grant funded,” says Cllr Dr Mahlaba.
While costing a substantial amount to construct, he says one cannot ignore the positive impact it will have on the community.
“Newcastle is strategically placed, connecting us to Mpumalanga, Gauteng, the Freestate and other surrounding provinces.”
With chartered and commercial flights being made available within the next six to eight weeks, it seems Newcastle is sure to soar to new heights.
Chairperson of Newcastle Sakekamer, Henry van der Linde applauds the establishment of the airport.
“The airport makes Newcastle more accessible to everyone. Furthermore, as the halfway point to other provinces, it will benefit the town on both an economic and tourism point.”
In terms of tourism, Van der Linde says hospitality establishments will be able to see an influx of tourists making their way through town.
From an economic point of view, Van der Linde emphasises there will be a boost in the economy through job creation as people will now need to be employed to ensure Newcastle Airport runs at an optimal level. This will see more money circulating within the town’s economy.
Louw Conradie, Managing Director of Nashua Maluti says, from a local business point of view, the airport allows the opportunity for local businesses to truly flourish.
“It cuts down on travelling time. You can now go to Johannesburg in under an hour for a meeting, then come back to the office. It really changes the way we commute and do business.”
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is also pleased with the airport and what it has to offer.
“It is really a job well done. While it was meant to be completed a year ago, we are fortunate we have someone who was able to drive it to completion,” says Bebsie Cronje.
Bertie Meiring agrees with both Cllr Dr Mahlaba and Newcastle Sakekamer chairperson Van der Linde in terms of the positive impact it will have on the economy.
“Newcastle Airport creates an easier connection to Newcastle and other towns, which is only good for the economy,” he says.
With an array of guests and dignitaries participating in the official opening, each pleased at the bright horizons it brings, it seems Newcastle is truly set to develop into a formidable force in the economic sector.