Flight times between Cape Town and Johannesburg may become longer due to the introduction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope in the Northern Cape.
Editor of the SA Flyer Magazine Guy Leitch talks to Kieno Kammies and explains why.
In an ideal world, the SKA would like an absolutely quiet electro-transmission zone over the whole area, and for a whole area around it.— Guy Leitch, Editor - SA Flyer Magazine
To achieve this goal, he explains how the Department of Science and Technology has introduced a number of regulations to inhibit any interference from cell phone transmissions, transponders from light aircraft, amongst other things.
The quiet zone includes a safe area surrounding it.
And that is requiring - or proposing - that airlines move their routes slightly further south. This will add - depending on the route - a couple of extra minutes flying time. That doesn't sound like a lot but bear in mind that there are over 40 flights a day between Cape Town and Johannesburg. So it all adds up.— Guy Leitch, Editor - SA Flyer Magazine
This comes after airlines have been working hard to cut down their flight times, as the airline industry commits to a carbon offsetting and reduction programme.
The major impact will be the total cost added to the airline industry, says Leitch, which will pass on the passengers eventually.
Considering the effort they have made to minimise this, it is definitely a step backward.— Guy Leitch, Editor - SA Flyer Magazine
There are alternatives.
Airlines could switch off their transponders over the sensitive areas.— Guy Leitch, Editor - SA Flyer Magazine
Listen to Leitch's explanation below: