King Shaka International Airport (KSIA), La Mercy, Durban
A BRIEF HISTORY TO THE AIRPORT AT LA MERCY
There is a long history to the location of the airport in La Mercy. Starting with what is in the name? Located on the shores of the Indian ocean, 30kms north of the port city of Durban, the town name La Mercy is an embellishment of the French language phrase La Mer meaning the sea, conjured up by the Mauritian sugar baron original owners of the land, the De Chazal family.
La Mercy town is now a residential sea side area settled from the 1960’s onwards and now home to approximately 450 households. Homes range from beachfront apartments to palatial splendor on large stands. The airport is located some 5kms inland from here.
The airport project has been on and off since the 1960’s, too, when the projected constraints of the current Durban international airport, to the south of Durban, were forecast. The government commissioned designs for the new airport in the late 1960’s and expropriated some 2000 hectares of former agricultural land for the purpose.
In 1973 construction of the new airport was initiated and by 1975 earthworks and a storm water drainage system to the value of R320 million were completed. However, in 1982 construction was suspended because of slow economic growth. The expropriated land was leased back to Sugar baron giants Tongaat Hulett for continued agricultural use and a local Micro light club made use of the grassed over runway.
In November 1994, just months after the first democratic election in South Africa, the then KwaZulu Natal Provincial Minister for Economics and Tourism, Mr. Jacob Zuma, announced at a conference in London, UK, that an international airport would be built at La Mercy near Durban. The announcement was applauded in newspaper editorials for casting aside years of official vacillation and stalemate but transport officials and the then National Transport Minister were unaware that the decision had been made.
Cabinet gave final approval to the completion of the new airport at La Mercy in 2002 and Mr Zuma is now President of the Republic.
King Shaka International Airport (KSIA)
King Shaka International Airport is our brand new state of the art
Durban International Airport which is located, along with the
Dube Trade Port, at the original La Mercy Airport site:
35km north of Durban on the Dolphin Coast, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
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