Vic Falls airport expansion nears completion

Leonard Ncube and Nyemudzai Kakore in Victoria Falls
THE $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport is now 85 percent complete and the project is expected to be completed in May this year. This emerged during Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo’s tour of the new look facility, whose refurbishment started in February 2013.

Cde Gumbo expressed satisfaction with progress made so far.

The Minister said construction of the new look airport, which when complete will handle 1.5 million passengers per annum, will likely be concluded in May this year.

“We hope by end of May the project will be complete. We hope to start upgrading the VVIP lounge beginning of February that’s why we think by May work will be completed and then the project will be commissioned,” said Cde Gumbo.

“I’m very happy with the progress that I see. People have worked very hard. I came here in December and there’s a difference. It shows that people are now working 24 hours a day. This is very impressive.”

Briefing the Minister earlier on, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe general manager David Chaota said the project was now 85 percent complete.

“The implementation of the project was in two phases. The first phase was to build the international terminal building, the runway and control tower because the three work hand in hand. By completing that phase that enabled us to renovate existing facilities which is where we are,” said Chaota.

Work on the terminal, which was holding both domestic and international travellers and also the conversion of the runway into a parallel taxi way, was in progress.

Chaota said the state-of-the-art control tower and the new 4km runway as well as the new international terminal were already operational.

Work is still in progress on the construction of the fire station which will handle four fire trucks.

The taxi ways leading to the aprons are being refurbished while the short term car park is almost complete.

At the international terminal where all the departure lounges are already operational, international travellers could be seen going through immigration processes.

In-built restaurants are also now operational.

Once completed, the new facility will treble the passenger handling capacity from 500,000 passengers to 1.5 million passengers per annum. It will also accommodate wide bodied aircraft such as B747, B777 and A380.

Plans are also underway to upgrade Harare International Airport while other ports of entry such as the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo in Bulawayo, Buffalo Range and Kariba airports are being renovated.

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