South African airspace ready to serve Mandela mourning activities

Written by: IANS
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Johannesburg, Dec 10: The South African civil aviation system announced Monday that they are ready to serve Nelson Mandela mourning activities.

"Measures have been put in place to ensure safe air travel," Xinhua quoted Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) spokesperson Percy Morokane as saying.

After the 95-year-old anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday evening, mourning people have been streaming to remember him.

The South African government Monday said more than 90 heads of state and government will attend the historic national memorial service of Mandela, which will be held in Johannesburg in the eastern province of Gauteng Tuesday.

Mandela's funeral will be held at his home village in the southern province of the Eastern Cape Dec 15.

As part of the new measures, "an airspace management unit has been set up to co-ordinate slots and air traffic flow management from various airports", said Morokane.

The ATNS is the sole air traffic and navigation services provider in South Africa, operating at 22 airfields around the country.

"The potential risks that include adverse weather conditions have been identified ...diversion alternatives have been identified, and will be reviewed on a 24-hourly basis," the ATNS spokesperson said.

To ensure the plan will be implemented smoothly, the ATNS staff have been sent to the designated airports across the country to provide the day and night air traffic management services.

The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) also said Monday that it was implementing a new plan to help the movement of passengers and aircraft since Mandela passed away.

Mandela's funeral will be held at his home village

As a public company, the ACSA operates nine major airports in the country, including the international airports in the country's largest city of Johannesburg, the second largest city of Cape Town and the southeastern port city of Durban.

"The normal major event processes have been activated at the international airport in Johannesburg," said the ACSA in a statement.

The ACSA pledged it could serve the mourners with dignity and professionalism in the coming days.


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