Polokwane International Airport is soaring to destined glory

The company responsible for Polokwane International Airport has a new board in place and a turnaround strategy is already delivering dividends.

Polokwane International Airport (PIA), based in Polokwane, the capital city of Limpopo Province, is a gateway to the SADC region, a pillar of safe air travel that promotes convenient connectivity of the province to other major transport hubs.

PIA is managed by Gateway Airports Authority Limited (GAAL) under the chairmanship of Mr Victor Xaba. The shareholder, the MEC of the Limpopo Department of Transport and Community Safety, in 2021 embarked on a robust recruitment process to appoint a competent board to address leadership instability and improve governance.

Mokgadi Matli, CEO, GAAL

The board members have brought to the entity a combination of skills in aviation, engineering, finance, legal and human resources which will be critical to ensuring the success of GAAL.

Turnaround strategy

The board developed a turnaround strategy that is intended to achieve financial and operational sustainability and expand the operating model. The goal is to implement the full mandate of GAAL, which includes managing all of the airports that fall under the control of the entity.

The strategy is embraced by the Provincial Government and funding has been approved to implement improvements and revenue-generation projects. To ensure the successful implementation of the strategy, critical vacancies have been filled, including CEO and CFO.

Optimising human capital has yielded results and improvements are evident as GAAL managed to address the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) safety findings and continues to retain a Category 7 operating licence. The audit outcome has improved and there is a steady increase in revenue due to increases in flight and passenger movement. Current rental tenants have been retained and the occupancy rate for the airport has increased. New rentals have led to a 25% revenue increase.

Turnaround strategy at a glance:
  • Appoint competent board
  • Fill vacancies
  • Ensure financial sustainability
  • Expand operations
  • Implement the full mandate of GAAL
  • Pursue cargo facility potential
  • Generate more revenue
  • Attract investors
  • Potential investors

GAAL has identified opportunities for investment and strategic partnerships on revenue-generating projects. The Limpopo Investment Conference 2023 has unlocked engagements with potential investors. PIA is strategically situated at the heart of Limpopo, which makes it the ideal location for the provincial logistics hub, thus establishment of cargo services is at the pulse of the turnaround.

Other investment opportunities include resuscitation of the fuel farm, repurposing of old aircrafts into a restaurant, refurbishment and operating PR Mphephu Airport, cold storage facilities, conference facilities, rental of offices, advertising space and hangars.

The steady and consistent improvements that are already visible at the airport, coupled with the plans that are in the turnaround strategy is an assurance that PIA, GAAL other airports under its mandate are soaring to their destined glory.

Contact details:

  • Polokwane International Airport, Gateway Drive, Polokwane
  • Tel: +27 15 288 0122
  • Website: www.gaal.co.za