Newsletter Feb 2019

Dear WAIG member,

Reflecting on last year, I’m sure we can all agree that 2018 was a rather challenging year, and as far as Wonderboom airport goes, it was no different. It’s fair to say that for the WAIG team it has been our most difficult year yet. As you would all know, working with a city council is very challenging, and since the intervention team took over at the end on 2017 the whole management team changed and so did all the “rules”. It has really been a monumental task to engage with the “new management”, but our dedicated team has persevered to the point that we now have some form of working relationship with airport management. However, it remains a slow, tedious process to get the simplest of issues discussed, debated and/or resolved.

We have realized that perhaps we don’t always communicate enough will all our member, its often a case of not wanting to burden our members with too many e-mails. Having said that, I’m going to keep this newsletter as short and to the point as possible. The objective of this newsletter is to point out the amount of work that gets done in a year and why we should all continue to stand together as the Wonderboom airport community.

The first few months of 2018 were very frustrating. In previous years, we have always had airport management join our meetings and listen to our members challenges. We would often find ways, or at least, some form of compromise which led to a conducive environment of working together. At the very worst, even when issues where not solved, we at least knew why. However, from December 2017 all that changed, and we no longer had direct communication with management, making it very difficult to address any issues. To make things worse, many procedures kept changing overnight, ranging from general security to access cards, to flight operations, down to closing of runway 06/24. Whether it affected you or not, WAIG was there for each and every issue trying to find common ground.

Here are just some of the more prominent matters that WAIG took on in 2018:

  • Debating what training is “actually” required to get an “access card” and how to go about it.
  • Protesting against the “exorbitant fees” that was imposed on tenants in order to get an access card (ranging from R950 – R1500). This included a study made at other similar airports, including which procedures where legally a necessity as we are not a designated airport.
  • Dealing with issue of gates welded shut around the airport without prior consultation with the parties involved.
  • The appointment of Rennie van Zyl (an Independent Aviation Consultant specializing in aviation matters). Rennie tabled all our concerns and all the legislation which was imposed on WBA by management and supplied us with a 30-page report (its available should anyone wish to get a copy).
  • Organized a meeting with city officials including MMC of economic development and most of the airport role players. Although WAIG did not achieve the objective of being “officially” recognized it did lead to the “Mass Meeting” which was held 22 June at the fire station. We also took note that many tenants were not happy with the outcome of that meeting, however it was the starting point for the communication we currently have.
  • Arranging a meeting with both ATNS and WBA management to open runway 06/24. This was a collaboration with many flight schools, highlighting the huge “safety risk” which was posed to all pilots, in particular to students, having this runway closed. The original no-tam was out for three months but 06/24 was re-opened after 6 weeks.
  • Security access, including re-writing some of the access procedures trying to find a working solution for both tenants and CAA regulations.
  • The implementation of a “workable” approach on how all tenants enter their work place at WBA.
  • The joining of the LASC from three of our members so that we can be part of any changes that may occur within the security environment and make sure it has the least amount of negative impact on tenants.
  • Assisted one of our “fuel suppliers” when their tanker was refused access to the premises. This is a complex issue and involves certain By-Laws. However, the team made sure that fuel continued to flow to WBA.
  • Compiled a proposal “master plan” to be considered by airport. Should it be successful, this would see to it, that all hangars be re-numbered in a chronological manner. It also means that all roads and taxiways would be marked and named so that access to everyone’s hangar becomes easily accessible, very much like a standard “business park”. This would also include getting a physical number applied to each and every hangar on WBA. This task alone took months of work and hundreds of man hours to complete.
  • Engaged various councilors regarding the outdated By-Laws in an effort to make sure that we are properly consulted and that we are part of the “public participation process” when it happens.
  • Compiled a fuel proposal for WBA in an effort to get more than one supplier which will ensure both supply and competitive prices for all tenants and operators.
  • Supported the AERO team in hosting the first ever “AERO South Africa” right here at WBA and have negotiated a discount for all WAIG members.
  • Numerous meetings and engagements with city officials regarding the signage both in the terminal building and around the airport. This led to the “mass meeting” held in January 2019 whereby the head of Outdoor advertising for Tshwane engaged with tenants and further arranged a workshop whereby they requested our feedback so that a new advertising manual for WBA can be compiled. They have undertaken to keep communicating with us so that our input be considered. In the next month we are expecting to have another workshop and we urge all tenants to attend so that everyone’s input can be noted and considered.
  • Furthermore, we have requested that a signage board be placed in the main terminal with each and every business on WBA listed on it, at no cost to the tenants, we await feedback.
  • Engaged with management on several occasions regarding maintenance of hangars. We cannot seem to win this battle as they insist that each tenant has a different contract and as we do not engage in any tenant’s contractual business we can’t really be of assistance.
  • Engaging on a regular basis to establish how an existing or new tenant can get a new or an extension of their current lease. This is an on-going battle and WILL, sooner or later, affect every tenant on WBA.
  • Engaging with regards to the “dump site” just north of 11/29 which is causing a huge flocking of birds making it a serious safety risk to all pilots. This remains a huge concern and we are seeking ways to resolve it.
  • Engaging on why all events on WBA have been cancelled and why we cannot get past this. We are in the process of arranging meetings with the CAA to understand what the legislative challenges might be. Most recently this includes the Parachute World championships to be held in November at the drop zone. However, for 2018, the children’s flight wanted to come to WBA and was declined, the Adrenaline Air Show was denied, our Annual Fly-In was not approved and all the small events requested by the restaurant and some other tenants were also declined.

Arranging of our three community spit braais’, which were held at Villa San Giovanni and at ARHLAC.

Many of the above-mentioned points are all still “work in progress” hence have still not been resolved however, we believe the continuation of our “asking questions” and engagement with management IS and WILL get us closer to finding a solution.  We are committed to continue to resolve as many of the issues which we have started, however we must all remember that our strength lies YOUR SUPPORT!

WHY MUST YOU RENEW OR BECOME A NEW MEMBER?

If after all the above, you still aren’t’t sure if you should renew or become a member, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What will you do if your lease expires and you can’t renew it?
  • What will you do if the airport gets sold and you are the last one to find out?
  • What will you do if the FUEL runs out again and the current suppliers gets stopped?
  • What will you do if they again decide to charge every employee R1500 for an access card?

I know your answer will be “I WILL FIGHT”, but why do it alone? More importantly why fight in the first place? Let’s rather stand together and engage as a unit. Let’s engage as a community and let’s put an end to this uncertainty of “WHAT IF”. For most of us, WBA is our business, the place we have invested our time, our savings and the place we call “our other home”, so why not protect it? Let’s be pro-active about our challenges because in unity there is strength.

If you got to this point and are thinking “I don’t have the time”, that’s fine. What we really need is your support so that we have a united voice. Having said that, if you can find two hours every 2-3 weeks please let us know as we could do with more help. Or maybe you can just join us at our quarterly braai so that we can exchange ideas? Whichever way you decide, please do JOIN US!

Regarding our annual WAIG Fly-in, we have received an in-principle approval to go ahead. The date has not been chosen yet but will probably be at the end of May. We look forward to another great event. We will forward more details as we finalize them.

Lastly, the first WAIG Braai for 2019 will be held at the end of March 2019. An official invite with the final date and details will be sent out in due course.

We thank you all for your continued support.

Should you ever have any queries please do contact us on info@waig.co.za

Christian Maiorana
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.