‘Virginia Airport in the best place it could be’

Owner of Aero Natal, Daryl Mann and Durban North ward councillor, Shaun Ryley celebrate the news that National Treasury rejected the unsolicited bid to develop Virginia Airport site.
Owner of Aero Natal, Daryl Mann and Durban North ward councillor, Shaun Ryley celebrate the news that National Treasury rejected the unsolicited bid to develop Virginia Airport site.

THE news that eThekwini Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) had rejected the unsolicited bid to develop the Virginia Airport site was welcomed by Daryl Mann, the owner of Aero Natal, who has led a legal fight for long-term leases on behalf of Virginia operators.

In 2015, the City said the airport would be replaced by a R6.1-billion development from Seaworld Investments Holdings (Pty) Ltd which would have comprised of a hotel, upmarket residential houses as well as leisure and related developments. Operators were told they would be given a three year lease after which time they would have to move to Scottburgh on the South Coast.

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“I’m glad the bid was stopped but I’m still dumbfounded the City even considered it in the first place. I’ve been in the aviation industry for more than 35 years and in my humble opinion, Virginia Airport is in the best possible site it could ever be, probably the safest place it could be. The emphasis now should be taken off what could possibly happen to the site until such time as a suitable alternate has been found, and I don’t think there is a suitable alternate site.

“All we would like from the City is security of tenure. It’s very difficult to get people to invest when there is so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the airport. We feel somebody should exhaust the idea of finding an alternative and if there isn’t a site that suits general aviation, then we need to realise the airport is not going anywhere. I would rather see the City spend money on the airport for the upkeep and maintenance of Virginia. The importance of an airport so close to the City cannot be overstated,” he said.

 

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