By Tichaona Kurewa & John Nhandara
THE Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) is confident of meeting the set targets in the upgrading and refurbishing the country’s airports.
With several international airlines flying into destination Zimbabwe, government is prioritising the upgrading of the country’s airports.
This was confirmed by Airports Company of Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tawanda Gusha who revealed that the firm is sprucing up major airports in the country, with outstanding expansion works at Joshua Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo set to be completed by the end of this year.
“We are also just finalising the mobilisation for the construction of the air traffic control tower and fire station at Joshua Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo, which we have to complete this year. It is one project that is outstanding, treasury has provided us with the necessary funding for that project,” said Gusha.
Mr Gusha also gave an update on works at Buffalo Range, Kariba, Hwange and Charles Prince Airports.
“We also managed to do a runway overlap like putting a fresh coat of asphalt on the runway at Buffalo Range Airport just to give it a better life and also making it more usable to aircrafts. In other airports we have been carrying out our routine maintenance like at Kariba Airport for instance where we have to carry out works on the runway, tax ways as well as the uploading area, the same goes for Hwange and Masvingo airports. At Charles Prince airport, we managed to start and we are almost completing our disaster recovery facility and additional office space so that at least the airport is slightly better than what it used to be. These are just immediate interventions but the medium to long term plan is to expand the runway at Charles Prince, put in a terminal building,” explained Gusha.
The Airports Company of Zimbabwe is on a drive to ensure there is air connectivity throughout the country.
“We are developing main airports like what we did with Victoria Falls International Airport In 2016 we commissioned the new infrastructure which increased the runway length and runway strength as well as the new international terminal building. What that did is we saw growth in traffic into Victoria Falls. The more we see growth into international airports, the more traffic has to be taken to other smaller airports. We want to make sure that when people fly into Victoria Falls they are able to fly into Masvingo to visit Great Zimbabwe, Kariba and they are able to go to Hwange,” he added.
Meanwhile the expansion of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is now sixty percent complete, with contractor Jiangsu International confirming to this news crew that construction and roofing of the super structure has been completed.
Aero bridges structures for the international terminal have also been done and the curtain walling system also nearing completion.
“We are now 60 percent complete and we have our equipment on site to do our current works as you can see we have completed the structure. Although we have been affected by the covid 19 pandemic we hope to finish this project next year,” said Wei Wei, Jiangsu International Project Manager.
Currently, the Airports Company of Zimbabwe is in the process of procuring passenger facilitation equipment and aero bridges.
“The contractor is moving with speed. Right now they are concentrating on putting tiles and air conditioning systems in the building. We are in the process of procuring passenger facilitation equipment and aero bridges,”said Gusha.
Once complete, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is expected to have a handling capacity of six million passengers per annum, up from the current two point five million passengers.
The Second Republic is on a drive to modernise critical infrastructure in the country, including airports, in line with objectives of the National Development Strategy One and Vision 2030.
By Tichaona Kurewa & John Nhandara