VICTORIA FALLS, October 23 (The Source) – Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joram Gumbo has bemoaned the state of Joshua Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo, saying the facility is substandard despite a costly upgrade that has dragged on for over a decade.
The project, whose has so far gobbled up $25 million, still needs in excess of $13 million to complete outstanding work despite its commissioning in December 2013.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe has said it is failing to raise the required at least $13 million to complete upgrades and the recently appointed Transport Minister on Thursday said the state of the facility is not up to the standard.
“Joshua Nkomo Airport needs face-lifting. I am not happy with its appearance, even the inscription which says ‘welcome to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport’ is not up to standard,” said Gumbo.
He was briefing journalists in Victoria Falls Thursday after meeting the visiting Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce, who is on a tour to inspect projects funded by the Asian country in Zimbabwe.
Gumbo said the Bulawayo airport, which handles three airlines, South Africa’s Airlink, Fly Africa and Air Zimbabwe, was still short of being a gateway into the country.
According to CAAZ, the airport’s traffic control tower requires $9 million, the fire tender needs $4 million and dualisation of the access road requires $2 million, among other costs.
The airport has the capacity to handle 1,5 million passengers annually when complete.
Meanwhile, Gumbo said government was in talks with a number of airlines worldwide to service local airports, especially to Victoria Falls where the refurbished airport is expected to be complete in May next year.