Cape Town airport set to get quieter as it cuts boarding calls

27 February 2018 - 12:55 By Timeslive
Cape Town International Airport. File photo.
Cape Town International Airport. File photo.
Image: Foto24/Lulama Zenzile/Gallo Images

Tinny announcements in search of airline passengers hugging a bar stool are aggravating to everyone‚ prompting a global move towards the introduction of "silent airports" - which Cape Town is now joining.

Airports Company South Africa said on Tuesday that passengers departing on domestic and international flights from Cape Town International Airport from March 1 "are advised that no passenger boarding calls will be made in the domestic and international departures check-in areas and boarding gates area".

In addition‚ "limited boarding calls will be made in front of international departures boarding gates".

Cape Town follows Johannesburg’s OR Tambo international airport‚ which advised its passengers in November last year that it was switching off microphones at the domestic departures terminal and gates. Standard operating procedures for most domestic flights require that passengers start boarding at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time and one hour for international travellers‚ Acsa said in a statement on Tuesday.

The only instances where centralised terminal announcements will be made will be for irregular operations such as gate changes‚ flight time changes‚ security matters‚ system failures and customer service anomalies such as lost minors‚ it added.

Spokesperson for Cape Town International Airport‚ Deidre Davids‚ said: “As Cape Town International Airport we have noted the feedback from passengers in independent customer surveys citing complaints about noise levels in airports. In keeping with global trends and the aviation’s move toward passengers being increasingly self-sufficient we are adopting the global trend of silent airports.

"The obvious benefit of a silent airport is reduced noise‚ which has been an issue of contention for our passengers. This means that the public-address microphones at the domestic and international departures terminal and gates will be switched off‚ with limited announcements at gates for international passengers. Passengers will be advised to check their boarding passes and the flight information display boards for boarding times‚ gates and any other changes.”

Many international airports have already adopted a silent airport policy to improve airport ambience and reduce complaints about the number and frequency of calls for individual passengers to board their flights who have checked in and have not arrived at the boarding gates.

“As an airport operating in one of South Africa’s preferred tourist destinations and one of Africa’s busiest airports‚ we remain focused on providing the best passenger experience for our customers and we are hopeful that this new regulation will improve the domestic traveller experience‚” said Davids.

“We trust that passengers will take note of their individual responsibility in getting to their boarding gate and boarding the aircraft in good time.”