Govt speaks on airport infrastructure expansion projects

By Tichaona Kurewa

THE government says the refurbishment and expansion of the country’s airports is cascading to airfields in resort areas such as Hwange to improve air connectivity and convenience for tourists.

The wheels of government’s infrastructure development programme continue turning, with the rehabilitation of Hwange Airport at a cost of US$5 million expected to boost Zimbabwe’s Tourism Recovery Plan.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Honourable Felix Mhona highlighted that the airport is key in attracting tourists to Hwange National Park and beyond.

“Hwange Airport has the second largest runway that we have as a nation and it is underutilised. We need to synchronise the activities of tourism in this region. We have done the tour and we saw the areas we need to rehabilitate to enable the large boarded planes to land on this particular airport,” said Minister Mhona.

Airports Company of Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer, Tawanda Gusha disclosed that they are in the process of mobilising the necessary resources for the refurbishment of Hwange Airport.

“What is needed for this runway is just an overlay of asphalt so that we just rejuvenate it and give it more life. For 4 600 metres, that is quite a lot of work that requires a substantial amount of resources which we are in the process of mobilising.

“Even if you look at the terminal building and the other facilities, they need upgrading because it’s old infrastructure, because this airport was built in 1965, so it needs that touch to modernise it.

“There are a lot of camps around. If we modernise Hwange Airport and we put the infrastructure that is required including the fuel facilities, then you find that all the camps will fly into Hwange for fueling services,” he said.

Hwange National Park provides some of Africa’s best wildlife viewing opportunities and boasts of a tremendous selection of wildlife, with over 100 mammal species and nearly 400 bird species.