An Airport in the Central Karoo


Atkinson, D, Myles, P and Van Rooyen, D (2013), An Airport in the Central Karoo: The Feasibility and Potential Impacts of the Karoo Gateway Airport, Beaufort West. Unpublished commissioned report, Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein; Funded by the Royal Embassy of the Netherlands, Pretoria.



1. This report examines the potential viability and impact of an upgraded airport in Beaufort West (the Karoo Gateway Airport, or KGA). For effective regional development, the Karoo requires an effective system of transport, using all modalities, such as air, road and rail.

2. This paper is examines the hypothesis that, for Karoo tourism to reach its full potential, an integrated tourism transport system is required. A key component of such a system would be a combined fly-drive-fly system, whereby scheduled flights can be provided to a central location in the Karoo. Such a Karoo airport would have several advantages: It would be a base for car rental agencies; it would ease congestion on the Karoo highways; and it would market the Karoo as a destination instead of simply as an overnight stop. A central Karoo airport, with an all-weather runway, night lights, and scheduled flights, would link with larger centres and airports, such as Cape Town, George, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Windhoek. Within the Karoo region, the Beaufort West airport would with other Karoo airports and airfields, in a “hub and spoke” system of centre-periphery air transport linkages. Airports such as Graaff-Reinet, Carnarvon and De Aar would receive more air traffic.

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