Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Sikhuphe International Airport, the building site in Swaziland, has been shortlisted for the African Airport of the Year Award.

The airport that isn’t even finished and is not yet open – and may never open as Swaziland is hurtling towards bankruptcy – has been honoured for its ‘infrastructure development, adoption of modern airport technology, adherence to safety and security standards, new routes and human capital development as well as good service delivery’.

I’m not making this up. An outfit calling itself the Routes Africa 2011 Conference in Bamako, Mali, made the announcement this week.

It gave the top prize of African Airport of the Year to Kotoka International Airport, Ghana.

I don’t know what kind of scam this is but the prize organisers say the ‘coveted awards’ are ‘the highest industry honours of excellence conferred on airports’. Allegedly, the award was made after ‘a competitive screening process by a panel of global airport experts’.

So who exactly visited Sikhuphe? And how were they able to give the ‘airport’ marks according to the competition’s criteria that include ‘innovative ways of marketing to airlines [and] evidence of relationship with airlines’, when there are no airlines using the airport, because the airport doesn’t exist.

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