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US$150m Victoria Falls airport opens September

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THE new look multi-million dollar Victoria Falls International Airport, whose Chinese-funded upgrade is underway, will be ready for commissioning in September, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has said.
CAAZ initiated the $150m airport expansion project in February 2013 to boost its aircraft handling capacity and tourism in Victoria Falls.
This includes construction of a 4km runway, expansion of the existing runway, construction of a new terminal building, and road network and car park. A new fire station and control tower are also being built at the airport, funded by China-Exim Bank.
In a statement, CAAZ said the runway was now 90 percent complete while the terminal was now 65 percent complete.
“The runway is about 90 percent complete and what remains installation of some items such as associated instrument landing systems.
“The terminal is also at 65 percent as workers have now started putting roof structures. The concrete work has been completed,” read the statement.
The new terminal will be used for international flights while the existing terminal will be converted to domestic use as the new look facility will handle more than one million passengers per year up from 500,000.
CAAZ said the tower and runway will be ready by mid-year to pave way for upgrading of the existing runway.
“Upgrading of the existing runway will start when the new runway is completed which we hope is in July. The project is progressing well and by September we should be having a new airport.”
CAAZ is already marketing the new facility to lure new airlines to cushion the existing ones-Air Zimbabwe, Fly Africa, South Africa Airways, Comair and others.
The new runway will be able to accommodate wide-body aircraft, such as Airbus A340, Boeing 777 and Boeing 747.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has been tasked to make strategies to lure tourists to revive the sector.
ZTA is also working on strategies to boost domestic tourism through a number of packages aimed at encouraging locals to visit resort areas.Advertisement