On Friday, 18 December 2016, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will commission the newly-upgraded, fresh-faced Victoria Falls International Airport. The expansion project, which began in February 2013, cost approximately $150 million and was initiated to improve aircraft handling capacity and, as a result, to increase overall tourism in Victoria Falls.
The official completion of the project is a significant milestone for Zimbabwe given Victoria Falls’ capacity to attract more tourists and investors, boosting economic growth in the country. Dexter Nduna, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development, explained that the event will also be a major step in Zimbabwe’s quest to be the regional aviation hub.
The next phase in the process is the installation of radar systems to compliment the world-class infrastructure at each of the country’s airports. “Now that we now have state-of-the-art infrastructure on our major airports,” he explained, “the Government should now put in place primary and secondary radar systems to direct and manage aircraft in our skies. Between $40 million and $50 million is required to install the radar systems.”
With the upgrade, the Victoria Falls International Airport now features a brand new international terminal building, a 4km long runway, a new control tower and a revamped domestic terminal. What’s more, the passenger handling capacity has been boosted from 500 000 to 1.5 million per annum.
The apron area can now accommodate long haul flights from all around the world, with the ability to handle aircrafts in the class of B747 and equivalent. Modern passenger facilities include a compatible baggage handling system, Common Use Passenger Processing System (CUPPS) system, and a Flight Information Display System (FIDS).
Dr Abu Sufian Dafalla, Director for the Infrastructure and Logistics Division in Comesa, has gone on record saying that the new airport presents a face for Africa, and has the possibility to be a gateway into the region. “We have toured the new airport and it’s smart and environmentally friendly. I think it reflects a future face of Zimbabwe and will definitely be comfortable for visitors to come through into the region,” he said.
To view the new Victoria Falls International Airport for yourself, and to explore one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, book your flight to Victoria Falls today.
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Image Credits: Tom Varley Photography & Bulawayo24