US $153m for Harare Air­port up­grade

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Se­nior Re­porter

GOV­ERN­MENT has se­cured US$153 mil­lion from China for the ex­pan­sion of the Harare In­ter­na­tional Air­port with re­con­struc­tion work set to start in Novem­ber.

The China Ex­port Im­port Bank has ex­tended the loan fa­cil­ity for the project to be un­der­taken by Chi­nese en­gi­neer­ing firm, China Jiangsu.

Re­cently, China Jiangsu suc­cess­fully com­pleted the ex­pan­sion of Vic­to­ria Falls In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The ex­pan­sion of Harare In­ter­na­tional Air­port, which will soon be re­named Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port, will in­crease the fa­cil­ity’s ca­pac­ity from han­dling around 2,5 mil­lion trav­ellers to over 6 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

The de­vel­op­ment comes amid in­creas­ing in­ter­est by ma­jor in­ter­na­tional air­lines to fly to Zim­babwe.

Al­ready, Ethiopian Air­lines has in­tro­duced flights to Vic­to­ria Falls, while Lufthansa and Rwanda Air are en­gag­ing the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity of Zim­babwe in pur­suit of op­er­at­ing per­mits.

Fur­ther, Air Zim­babwe will soon take de­liv­ery of six air­craft next month as part of Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to re­vive the na­tional flag car­rier.

The ex­ten­sive up­grade work will in­clude mod­erni­sa­tion of fa­cil­i­ties at the air­port, with the car park set to be trans­formed into a multi-storey fa­cil­ity that can han­dle hun­dreds of ve­hi­cles. Mod­ern air­port bridges will also be in­stalled at new gates while the run­way will also be ex­panded fur­ther to al­low for mul­ti­ple land­ings at the same time.

Cur­rently, only one air­plane can land at any given time.

Tech­nol­ogy will also be up­graded with a new radar sys­tem be­ing de­ployed.

Mov­ing walk­ways, a slow-mov­ing con­veyor mech­a­nism that trans­ports pas­sen­gers across a hor­i­zon­tal or in­clined plane over a short to medium dis­tance, will also be in­stalled.

All de­signs for the up­grade have al­ready been com­pleted and ap­proved.

Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Dr Jo­ram Gumbo told The Sun­day Mail last week that fund­ing for the project has fi­nally been se­cured.

He said: “We were be­ing slowed down by the fund­ing con­straints but now we have se­cured the money and are ready to hit the ground run­ning.

“The China Ex­port Im­port Bank has loaned us the US$153 mil­lion re­quired for the up­grade.

“China Jiangsu did the ex­pan­sion of Vic­to­ria Falls (In­ter­na­tional Air­port) and will be han­dling the project. They will be­gin work on the Harare In­ter­na­tional Air­port by Novem­ber.

“We al­ready have the de­signs, we will have a new car park which will be in the form of a parkade.

“We will also up­grade the radar sys­tem while the run­ways will be ex­panded to al­low for more than just one plane to land at a time.

“We are look­ing at hav­ing a fa­cil­ity that is at the same level as the OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port in South Africa.

“Af­ter the work is done, the air­port will have the ca­pac­ity to han­dle more than six mil­lion trav­ellers a year.”

The up­grade of the Vic­to­ria Falls In­ter­na­tional Air­port has seen an in­crease in the num­ber of di­rect flights to the re­sort town.

Zim­babwe ex­pects to at­tract an in­creas­ing num­ber of tourists, es­pe­cially from non-tra­di­tional mar­kets.

The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the tran­sit fa­cil­i­ties is in­tended to fa­cil­i­tate the move­ment of tourists.

Dr Gumbo

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