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King Shaka International Airport November 09 www. bus- ex. com 113 buildings with an impressive passenger terminal precinct designed to cater for 7.5 million passengers per annum. Once the new airport is fully operational, the current Durban airport will be decommissioned and all aviation business will be relocated to the new King Shaka International Airport. The size of the R7 billion project is an important catalyst for economic growth in the province of KwaZulu- Natal and the country as a whole. At the peak of construction activity, there were more than 2,000 contractors and subcontractors on site along with 200 earth moving machines. The completed project is predicted to create over 150,000 jobs and is also the first greenfield airport to be designed and built in South Africa for more than 20 years. It offers the opportunity to create a world class, small to medium sized airport for the region and to create meaningful and sustainable advances in terms of both national industry and economic development within South Africa. One of the biggest challenges facing the project's stakeholders, however, has been its fast- track nature. ACSA has had an extremely tight delivery programme, resulting in the need for understanding and collaboration throughout the entire project team. Contracts have been on an acceleration programme, at times requiring the design team to work flat out, seven days a week, 20 hours a day, to ensure that the contract was not delayed. This delivery model is new for an airport of this scale; traditionally, ACSA would have appointed consultants to undertake the design and these would have been split up into many packages. The contract for King Shaka Airport called for a design, build, construct and maintain package, otherwise known as a turnkey contract. Neither WBHO nor Group 5, the main players in the Ilembe consortium, could have achieved this alone; therefore, a key group of 16 companies was formed in order to meet resource requirements. Ilembe was formed as a one- off, joint venture to balance capability and capacity with South African black economic empowerment ( BEE) initiatives. The fast- track nature of the project and the work of the individual consortium companies has created an atmosphere of collaboration and free sharing of ideas between stakeholders, something essential to completing a project of this magnitude within such a tight timescale. One of the many unique aspects of the project is the air bridges to be employed at the new airport. ThyssenKrupp Airport Systems has developed a patented passenger boarding bridge especially for the Airbus A380 that will reduce boarding time and expensive standing time at the airport by allowing 555 passengers to board and disembark from the upper and lower decks of the plane at the same time. These air bridges were originally manufactured in Spain and then shipped to South Africa; ThyssenKrupp was chosen for this important aspect of the project based on its previous experience and reputation for superior