Aerotropolis, Ekurhuleni, South Africa

The Ekurhuleni ‘aerotropolis’ project optimises the positive effects the airport has on the economy and communities in South Africa

Aurecon led the multi-disciplinary consortium that:

  • designed a masterplan to increase the airport’s competitiveness in global markets
  • leveraged the access that air travel and air freight provides to global clients.

Aurecon’s added advantage was extensive experience working on planning and infrastructure projects in the Ekurhuleni locality. This local knowledge blended with an integrated breadth of input across urban and transport planners, economists, financial and logistics experts, environmental managers, market researchers and strategists.

The Master Plan

The Master Plan set out a detailed path for the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis to become a multifaceted development and a powerful engine of local economic development and job creation. In addition, the consortium’s integrated prioritisation approach had a tremendously positive impact on otherwise unrelated interests within Ekurhuleni. The land use component of the Master Plan spurred new community investment and development initiatives.

The team made use of a number of high-level tools, such as spatial data analysis systems, sophisticated economic analysis tools and transport modelling and planning systems, to deliver the necessary innovation a project of this magnitude demands. The breadth of information and the sophistication with which it is analysed and integrated was critical to ensure that all opportunities were captured and optimised.

Design challenges

Developing the Master Plan was an immensely challenging process, particularly with regard to its complexity in collaborating with and securing the buy-in of a myriad of stakeholders and competing interests. Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is home to more than 3 million residents and is one of the most densely populated areas in South Africa.

Successfully delivered in June 2015, the Aerotropolis Master Plan profoundly changes and positively enhances the way Ekurhuleni, and also Gauteng province, face the realities of future economic growth and positions them within the global economy. It establishes the right steps for capturing opportunities in the Municipality’s ambition to be the ‘Hub of Africa’. 

What made the consortium successfully collaborate on this project beyond the extensive technical expertise, was the collaborative culture and absolute focus on excellence. When examined together, there is potential to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits. This is at the heart of the aerotropolis solution.


The consortium was the winner in the Private Sector category at the South African Planning Institute’s prestigious Planning Awards in 2016.

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