Upington Airport

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Upington Airport
IATA: UTNICAO: FAUP
UTN is located in Northern Cape
UTN
UTN
Location of Airport in Northern Cape
Summary
Airport type Public (International for Cargo only)
Serves Upington, Northern Cape
Elevation AMSL 851 m / 2,791 ft
Coordinates 28°24′04″S 21°15′35″E / 28.40111°S 21.25972°E / -28.40111; 21.25972
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
17/35 4,900 16,076 Asphalt
01/19 2,438 7,998 Asphalt
08/26 834 2,736 Asphalt

Upington Airport (IATA: UTNICAO: FAUP) is an airport located in Upington, Northern Cape, South Africa. At 4900 metres, runway 17/35 is one of the longest runways in the world. The high elevation of the airport, extremely high summer temperatures and the fact that it was designed for the Boeing 747 necessitated the extreme length of the main runway.

History[edit]

With the fall of the Portuguese regime in Angola, South African Airways lost its landing rights in Luanda. In addition to restrictions to overflying African states, there was concern that the country would lose its landing rights at the Ivory Coast and Ilha do Sal (Cape Verde).

Upington Airport's runway was built to accommodate a Boeing 747 with a full load of passengers, cargo and fuel, so that it could take off for Europe without having to stop along the way. Upington was chosen because of its strategic position, availability of land and comparatively lower height above sea level than Johannesburg.

Upington Airport was opened in 1968 as Pierre van Ryneveld Airport. In 1974 a corrugated iron fire station was erected but this structure was converted into administrative offices for airport management and other administrative staff in 1996 and the fire station was relocated.

From August 1976 to December 1996, South African Airways made use of Upington as a refuelling station for two weekly scheduled Boeing 747 flights to London and Zurich.

The Concorde did flight testing at Upington Airport in June 1976.[citation needed]

Scheduled services[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Airlink[1] Cape Town, Johannesburg-OR Tambo

Non-Scheduled services[edit]

Upington Airport serves as an international cargo hub. Most flights are non-scheduled chartered flights operating in the months of November to January to export grapes from the region directly to Europe and other countries. As much as 1,000,000 tonnes of grapes are exported every year.[2]

Private charter flights are provided by Walker Flying Services who operates Cessna 210 and Cessna 402 aircraft.

Many major car manufacturers bring their cars and commercial vehicles to Upington to test them in the hot dry and sunny conditions. These cars and test teams are flown into and out of Upington Airport using chartered planes.[3]

Airport services and capacity[edit]

Services at Upington Airport include:

  • One terminal building (combined arrival and departure hall)
  • Information desk
  • Conference room accommodating up to 12 persons
  • Five different car rental companies
  • Public parking for up to 58 cars
  • Basic first aid facilities

Statistics for the 2007 financial year at Upington Airport:[4]

  • 19,961 departing passengers
  • 3,694 arriving air traffic movements
  • Current consolidated capacity: 40,000 passengers
  • Aircraft parking bays: 20

Flying services include:

  • Control tower (frequency 121.30)
  • Apron services (frequency 122.65)
  • Refuelling service by Engen Aviation providing Avgas and Jet-A1
  • General aviation area including parking
  • VOR and NDB instrument approach procedure for runway 01
  • Runway centreline lights, end lights and PAPI for runways 01/19 and 17/35
  • Fire and rescue services (CAT 7)[citation needed]
  • Upington Weather Office

Future development[edit]

Upington Airport's uncommonly long runway and its strategically advantageous location, close to South Africa's northern borders, makes it ideally placed to serve the African continent. For this reason the airport is to be developed into a major cargo hub that will serve sub-Saharan Africa directly from South Africa's Northern Cape Province.[5][6]

As well as improvements to the airport itself, ACSA will be preparing land around the airport for development to support the inevitable boost to the local economy.

Planning is also under way at Upington Airport to construct a facility for the long-term parking of mothballed aircraft.[7][8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ACSA Website". Airport Company of South Africa. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  2. ^ "Upington Overview". Department of Water and Forestry South Africa. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  3. ^ "ACSA Website". Airport Company of South Africa. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  4. ^ "Study finds that a cargo hub at Upington would boost Northern Cape economy". Engineering News. Retrieved 2006-06-02. 
  5. ^ "Address by Northern Cape MEC for Transport, Roads and Public Works, Kagisho David Molusi, at the Upington Cargo Hub Workshop, Upington Ground Handling Warehouse, Upington". Kagisho David Molusi. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  6. ^ "ACSA Website". Airport Company of South Africa. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  7. ^ "Aircraft Storage and Parking Program at Upington Airport". Airport Company of South Africa. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 

External links[edit]