South Africa’s quaint Garden Route – a scenic seaside strip from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape – is now home to Africa’s very first solar powered airport, recently inaugurated in George. The fashionable holiday destination has certainly added to its hip, green credentials thanks to Airports Company South Africa’s 200 square meter, on-site solar power plant, already generating approximately 41% of the facility’s energy needs.
“This plant will ensure that the solar powered airport is self-sustaining in terms of its power needs and will eventually extend to the broader community within the George municipality,” said Skhumbuzo Macozoma, Chairman of the Airports Company South Africa Board, assuring that this is just the first step in company’s commitment to sustainability. The company responsible for 9 of South Africa’s airports has also laid the foundations for a long-term greening of their facilities, with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. “There are a number of key drivers Airports Company South Africa needs to manage to reach this objective and these include reducing energy consumption, water consumption, percentage of waste recycled, noise levels and energy efficient materials usage, amongst others,” continued Macozoma at the inauguration ceremony.
Currently, George Airport is only utilized for domestic inbound and outbound flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein, serving over half a million passengers annually on two runways.