The Upington International Airport is home to an almost 5km-long runway – the longest civilian runway in the Southern Hemisphere. The runway was built in 1976 specifically to accommodate a Boeing 747 (as it still does today), which is significant since Boeing 747s are often used to transport international cargo to South Africa, encouraging foreign investment in Upington.
Companies such as BMW and Mercedes Benz, for example, transport their cars using a Boeing 747 to test them in the Upington area.
The Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) is developing a world-class aircraft storage facility in Upington and has undertaken a feasibility study for the development of an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at the airport, which has proved to be very positive.
The airport’s dry, arid climate makes it a particularly favourable location for aircraft storage and maintenance, as this results in decelerated corrosion and deterioration.
Its location is ideal for the establishment of an aviation park to serve both the European and African markets. Developing such a facility has the potential to create a number of new jobs, and significant economic growth and spin-off opportunities for the region, the province and the country.