By John Nhandara
CONSTRUCTION of the VVIP Pavilion at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport will commence next month after remarkable progress in the setting up of a new international terminal building.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Honourable Felix Mhona gave an update of the expansion project at the commissioning of ground handling equipment for the Aviation Ground Services (AGS) at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport this Thursday.
“We have recorded remarkable progress such that by the end of this year we will have finished the project. We have made progress in the construction of the international building and our next stage is the VVIP pavilion which will start next month,” he said.
Passenger facilitation equipment including check in equipment, escalators and aero bridges are expected in the country in the next two months, according to Airports Company of Zimbabwe CEO, Mr Tawanda Gusha.
“Tiling and ceiling of the arrivals section has been done. Currently there is light fitting within the terminal building. We have procured baggage handling and passenger facilitation equipment such as check in equipment which is ready for shipment,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Aviation Ground Services equipment commissioned resonates well with the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Expansion Project in the anticipated increase of cargo and passenger handling capacity.
“The new equipment is anchored on current and future business needs since the new improved airport is expected to be a major regional hub for cargo and passenger traffic,” said Mr Caleb Mudyawarimwa, Aviation Ground Services- Managing Director.
The equipment includes a modern X-ray scanner, cargo loaders, high deck loaders, passengers steps and an air start unit.
The $US153 million expansion project will increase the airport’s holding capacity from 2,5 million people per annum to six million.
The scope of the expansion of the Robert Mugabe International Airport includes addition of an international terminal building and aprons, addition of aero bridges, as well as airfield ground lighting and communication system.
Government is also pursuing the progressive liberalisation of air transport markets, to enhance destination connectivity and airline operational flexibility.
The initiative is expected to increase airline frequency and business for the country’s aviation ground handlers.