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.
According to Guy Leitch, Editor of the SA Flyer Magazine:
“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.”
Leitch, described the steps that have already been taken to achieve this goal, like the Department of Science and Technology’s introduction of 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, thus the proposal that airlines move their routes slightly further south, this in turn will add extra minutes of flight time, depending on the route.
Leitch said the most significant impact will be on the total added cost to the airline industry, which will be subsequently passed on to the passengers.
“Considering the effort, they have made to minimise this, it is definitely a step backward,” he said.