Harare International Airport set for major expansion

16 May, 2016 - 03:05 0 Views
Harare International Airport set for major expansion

The Herald

Lovemore Chikova in JIANGSU, China
A Chinese construction firm has started working on the redesigning of Harare International Airport to accommodate more planes, in anticipation of an increase in tourist arrivals. Responding to written questions from The Herald here, China Jiangsu International (CJI) said it was also moving fast on a feasibility study for the airport’s expansion project.The firm recently completed the $150 million expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport, which opened up the facility to accommodate more aircraft.

“CJI is making great efforts to advance the expansion project of Harare International Airport and it is in the phase of feasibility study report and initial design,” said the firm. Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr David Chiwota was recently quoted as saying they expected to construct two more runways and two terminals at the airport.

Harare International Airport, with a passenger capacity of 2,5 million per year, was previously expanded and commissioned in 2001. CJI said it would increase its input into the infrastructure in Zimbabwe and expand the cooperation and “try to launch projects in the mode of BOT (Build Operate and Transfer) or PPP (Public-Private Partnership) when Zimbabwe faces financial problems”.

On its expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport, the firm said the new facility was ready to handle more traffic and would bring a positive impact on travel in Africa. “In Zimbabwe or even Southern Africa, this airport will be regarded as a modern international airport, for all its technical and application dimensions have reached high standards of today’s international civil aviation services,” said the firm.

“More international routes will be opened to make easy access to the worldly renowned Victoria Falls, the second largest water fall in the world, from major cities around the globe.”

The expansion of the airport increased its capacity to handling almost two million tourists per year from around 500 000, while wide body airplanes such as Boeing 747s and 767s and Airbus 340s and 380s would be able to land and take-off. “The sharp increment in international tourists and foreign currency earnings will boost tourism and the matching service industry in Victoria Falls,’ said CJI.

“The rapid development of tourism will also drive up tertiary industry, including transportation, post and telecommunications, real estate, business, insurance, culture and entertainment and will open up new markets for industry, agriculture and construction to become hotspots of consumption.”

CJI said the expansion of the airport brought jobs, honed skills of Zimbabwean technicians, taught “big-time” Chinese construction techniques and management to the locals and helped promote the construction industry in the country. The firm said there were difficulties that needed to be addressed at the airport like high transport cost of imported cargo, slow and complicated customs clearance and cumbersome procedure of certification.

CJI said the country needed to address the slow procedure in approval of designing and construction drawings, shortage of local supply of major construction materials, frequent power and water failure and lack of qualified personnel. The same firm also successfully worked on the expansion of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo recently.

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