Aerotropolis: Opportunity in the Air

Cape Town is on the brink of an exciting new phase of its history with much discussion
and research under way on how best to turn it into an Aerotropolis city that can 
bring economic and social benefits to the people of the region.

PEDI believes that Philippi is ideally located to contribute to any development of this nature. Philippi’s location virtually adjacent to the airport means it can offer unique value for businesses associated with air transportation – including storage, processing (particularly agri-processing), distribution and logistics – and can add massive value to the growing enthusiasm for the notion of Cape Town as an Aerotropolis city.

The Aerotropolis concept arises from the fact that more and more global trade is done via air transport. Historically, cities grew as their harbours, rail networks, and road networks improved. These days, the new driver for the development of great cities is the airport. PEDI has joined discussions with a number of organisations that are keen to develop the idea and is actively seeking opportunities to present the area’s value to potential investors and decision-makers. The PEDI leadership recently attended a workshop at the Cape Town International Airport hosted by Airports Company of South Africa. This was facilitated by the world’s leading Aerotropolis developers, AECOM, and discussions are ongoing with potential partners on what this could mean for Philippi. International research cited by AECOM shows that for every 10% increase in air travel, the regional economy associated with an airport grows 2%, and for every long-haul flight added to a destination, 3,000 jobs are created.

This is an exciting time and PEDI believes the uptake of the idea could be a significant game-changer for Philippi.

A number of organisations are exploring ways to develop the Aerotropolis concept. Some exciting work has been done by Urban Planner Dave Hanly to consider the implications for Cape Town. Hanly’s Masters Thesis on the subject, as well as other useful research, can be read here.

Masters Thesis

PhD Thesis

Plans to shift the axis of the runway at Cape Town International Airport by 11 degrees will allow bigger planes to use the airport and will thus give Cape Town a greater role in the global import/export economy. Philippi’s potential as a location for an expanded airport economy is significant.

Categories: Game Changers.