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GRAND CENTRAL AIRPORT - AN EXCLUSIVE BOUTIQUE AIRPORT IN THE HEART OF GAUTENG

GRAND CENTRAL AIRPORT - AN EXCLUSIVE BOUTIQUE AIRPORT IN THE HEART OF GAUTENG

African Pilot Magazine - March 2015

There is an air of excitement that lingers at Grand Central Airport. It is hard to put your finger on it but after a while you realise what it is. “Things” are happening at the airport. People are going places and there is no knowing what could happen next. You could round the corner and bump into a celebrity who is jetting off to Sun City for a performance or rub shoulders with one of South Africa’s most eligible bachelor or bachelorettes or top executives boarding a flight for a golfing weekend or you could find yourself having coffee at the Harvard Café next to a student pilot who might be piloting your future flights to Cape Town or Dubai. 

There is no immediate way of knowing when the next flight will be arriving or departing because there are no scheduled commercial flights. This lends the airport an aura of exclusivity. Most of the passengers moving through the airport are private pilots or charter flight passengers flying to their own agendas. “Business people and high profile passengers enjoy quick and easy access through the airport,” explains Gary Renault, Grand Central Airport Manager. “The busy executive can effortlessly park his car, board his jet or chopper and be in the air within minutes. VVIPs can even arrange to be driven directly to their waiting plane without being waylaid by the general public or the media. Alternatively, should the VVIP wish to engage with the public, Grand Central Airport is happy to assist in generating publicity around his or her arrival or departure.”

Aside from the hustle and bustle of the executive jet set heading off to their next location, the airport throbs with the intensity of vibrant young pilots learning the ‘ropes’ at the multitude of flight schools located at the airport. A young enthusiast can be seen piloting the SIMS (flight simulation machines), writing their aviation exams or heading out on practise flights. “The experience trainee pilots gain at Grand Central is invaluable because they are exposed to a fast paced airspace with plenty of traffic,” says Renault. “This affords them a better PPL.”

The connection between Grand Central Airport and OR Tambo airport is seamless thanks to the Gautrain link and Grand Central Airport’s courtesy Gautrain station shuttle which operates, free of charge, between Grand Central Airport and the Gautrain Midrand station, non-stop during rush hour and half hourly, on request, throughout the rest of the day. There are also car rental companies on hand to arrange transport into the city if necessary. The airport also provides very reasonably priced parking facilities above ground as well as long term underground parking.

A newly introduced executive lounge as well as a private pilots’ lounge, where pilots can rest between flights, adds to the convenience of the airport. Whilst Grand Central Airport is forever growing and changing to meet the ever changing demands of its clientele, it is undoubtedly a successful boutique airport providing first class service to the aviation industry.

ACCESSIBILITY

Grand Central Airport is easily the most conveniently located airport in Gauteng. Situated on New Road in Midrand with easy access to the N1 highway and the Gautrain Midrand station, this bustling general aviation airport provides effortless access to Johannesburg, Midrand and Pretoria’s major nodes.  It is comfortably nestled between Gauteng’s OR Tambo Airport and Lanseria Airport. 

TRAFFIC

The airport offers hangarage and parking for private aircraft and a multitude of air charter companies. “During 2012 we had around 92,000 aircraft movements at Grand Central which put us in contention for one of the busiest airports in Gauteng. Our aircraft movements are extremely high for a small airport and because we are only dealing with small aircraft, our separation issues are very low and we can land and park aircraft at a much higher frequency than commercial airports,” Renault explains.

TENANTS

Private pilots will find a variety of aviation services companies located at the airport, should they need technical assistance, and retail store Wings ‘n Things sells aviation accessories and equipment. Also in the terminal building, The Harvard Café serves delicious meals with a delightful view of the runway.

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