HARARE, November 27 (The Source) — The multi-million dollar refurbishment of Victoria Falls International Airport will now be completed this month and commissioned by the end of the year, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
“In this regard, I am happy to inform Honourable Members that, one of our flagship projects, the Victoria Falls Airport project, built at an estimated cost of $150 million, will be completed this month and commissioned by the end of the year,” Chinamasa said presenting the 2016 National Budget in Parliament on Thursday.
The completion of the project will boost the airport’s aircraft handling capacity and tourism into Victoria Falls by accommodating around 1,2 million passengers per annum compared to the existing capacity of 400,000.
CAAZ initiated the $150 million airport expansion project in February 2013 to boost tourism and its aircraft handling capacity from 500, 000 per annum to 1, 5 million as it seeks to make Victoria Falls the regional aviation hub.
However, the facility funded by China’s Exim Bank through a concessionary loan facility has missed a number of deadlines.
He also said that government has completed Phase I of the Harare Airport road project, Save, Mbembesi, Little Sebakwe and Musavezi bridge approaches which have all improved the flow of traffic on these sections of the road network.
In an update to the visiting Chinese Deputy Minister of Commerce Zhang Xiangchen last month, who was in the country to inspect China-funded capital projects, CAAZ officials said completion was scheduled for May 16 next year but the airport will start using the new facilities on November 23.
Expansion work also includes expansion of the existing runway, construction of a new terminal building, control tower which is now 92 percent complete, and car park.
A new fire station, sewer ponds and water tank are also being built at the airport and are in various stages of completion.
China Jiangsu is carrying out the construction work.