Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Victoria Falls primed for boon. . .airport works proceed on schedule

THE resort town of Victoria Falls, the country’s flagship tourism destination, is primed for rich pickings, particularly during the 2015 festive season, as expansion of the international airport there is set for completion within revised timelines.

The airport’s runway is close to completion, while works on the control tower and terminal building has progressed satisfactorily.

Government has set a September deadline for the project, which is being funded from a US0 million loan from China.

Permanent Secretary for Transport and Infrastructural Development Mr Munesu Munodawafa told The Sunday Mail Business, “We are excited about Victoria Falls Airport. The runway itself is about 71 percent complete, but when you look at everything that happens on the airside – and by airside I mean the runway, the control tower and other facilities that relate to that – overally we are at 62 percent. And the terminal building, which is the land side together with the fire station, we are at about 52 percent.”

Government anticipates huge positive spin-offs once Victoria Falls International Airport is capable of handling large aircraft.

It is projected that the upgrade will enable the airport to handle more than two million visitors per year.

For the first time, Victoria Falls will be able to receive transcontinental flights from Europe and Asia. Added Mr Munodawafa: “In terms of business, from a statistical point of view, the airport will be able to handle more than two million visitors per year compared to the current half a million, so we will have increased its capacity four-fold, that is on the terminal building side. On the runway we will still have additional capacity to receive other aircraft.

“Secondly and critically, currently we have been able to only land medium size aircraft that is in the mould of the Boeing 737, the Airbus A320s and A319, but come end of September when we have completed the biggest planes in the world. So, we are likely to see transcontinental flights flying directly from Europe and landing in Victoria Falls,” said Mr Munodawafa.

Rehabilitating and upgrading the country’s infrastructure is one of the major undertakings of Government under the economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.

Relatedly, Mr Munodawafa noted that Government will make an announcement on the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway in the next three weeks.

Although the project is considered critical, the standoff between Government and Zimhighways, a consortium of local businesspersons initially given the concession go to develop the road, has stalled the progress.

Source: Victoria Falls primed for boon. . .as works proceed on schedule (31/01/15)

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