OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa has unveiled the first phase of the R4.5bn ($324m) mixed-use development project that includes construction of new cargo facilities, offices and upgrades to the airport’s façade.

The first phase of the Western Precinct development project will form part of a seven-phase plan to modernise the airport.

The project covers an area of 180,000m² and will include construction of three six-storey buildings that will house head offices of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA).

It will also include retail space, a hotel, and conference and logistics facilities, along with five levels of parking.

OR Tambo International Airport general manager Bonwe Pityi-Vokwana said: “OR Tambo International Airport remains an international landmark with world-class infrastructure and a large variety of services for all users and markets.

“The Western Precinct development forms part of a strategy to expand our offering and to drive new sources of growth for the entire region.”

“The Western Precinct development forms part of a strategy to expand our offering and to drive new sources of growth for the entire region.

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“The Western Precinct development will act as a catalyst to create a new multi-functional node where big businesses will ultimately migrate in terms of office and hotel accommodation.”

Construction work on the first phase is likely to start this month, with completion expected by the end of 2020.

OR Tambo International Airports’ long-term infrastructure master plan features midfield cargo and midfield passenger terminals.

These developments are expected to cater to the growing passenger demand and expand the midfield cargo facilities to handle up to two million tonnes of air cargo per year.

Pityi-Vokwana added: “At the same time, airport users will start to see upgrades to the existing terminal buildings. So, we are entering a very exciting period in the life of our airport which supports about 38,000 jobs in and around the precinct.”