Victoria Falls airport to be ready next month, finally

Victoria Falls airport to be ready next month, finally

VICTORIA FALLS, July 21 (The Source) – The refurbishment of the Victoria Falls International Airport will now be completed next month after missing several deadlines, an official has said.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) general manager David Chaota told The Source on the sidelines of the ongoing Common Market for Eastern and South Africa (Comesa) meeting in Victoria Falls, that the contractor was putting finishing touches on the $150 million Chinese-funded upgrade.

“We are doing finishing touches and work is underway on face-lifting the existing terminal. Come August it will be ready, this is the final deadline now,” he said.

CAAZ officials on Wednesday led delegates from the Comesa member states who are attending the week-long meeting, on a tour of the facility. The $150 million expansion project, which started in February 2013, will improve the airport’s handling capacity from 500, 000 per annum to 1, 5 million.

The airport will now also handle wide-bodied aircraft, with CAAZ keen on developing it as a regional aviation hub.

China’s Exim Bank is funding upgrading work through a concessionary loan facility while China Jiangsu is carrying out the construction work.

Expansion work has also been done on the existing runway, while the control tower, new fire station with a capacity for five fire engines, a water tower, car park, sewer ponds and water tank are already completed and in use.

“Work isn’t complete yet but we are in the final stages of everything. The immigration space is now bigger and well-conditioned to facilitate quicker clearing of visitors for their convenience and we think we are now ready to receive more visitors,” airport manager Ronny Masawi told the delegates.

He said four exclusive restaurants are already open and as are smoking and first class lounges.

The airport would also have offices and shops on the airside which CAAZ says are in line with international aviation standards.

The complex also houses two fuel service stations with a capacity of 1,200 litres of Jet A1 at any given time.