Victoria Falls, November 17, 2016 – THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has reported that the new look Victoria Falls International Airport will be commissioned this Friday as refurbishment work has been completed after missing several deadlines.
Work to upgrade the facility which the country wants to be the gateway into Africa, started in February 2013 in a bid to improve the airport’s handling capacity from 500, 000 per annum to 1, 5 million.
China’s Exim Bank funded upgrading work through a concessionary $150 million loan facility while China Jiangsu did construction work.
In a statement CAAZ director David Chaota said President Mugabe will commission the airport which will now be able to handle wide-bodied aircraft such as B747.
“CAAZ would like to inform its valued customers and the general public that the Victoria Falls International Airport Development Project is set to be commissioned by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe on Friday the 18th of November 2016,” he said.
Chaota said the airport is the gateway to the Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
CAAZ walks with heads high after upgrading the facility whose new features include an international terminal building, a new 4km long by 60m wide runway, extended parking areas for aircraft, car park, new control tower, new fire station with a capacity to handle five fire engines, new road networks, a new state of the art international passenger terminal building and a refurbished domestic terminal with a capacity to handle 1.5 million passengers per annum.
The apron area has a capacity to handle aircraft in the class of the B747 and equivalent, Chaota added.
“The airport has modern passenger facilities which include; a compatible baggage handling system, Flight Information Display System (FIDS) and Common Use Passenger Processing System (CUPPS) system,” said Chaota.
He said the new state of the art airport will now accommodate long haul flights from around the globe which is expected to increase inflow of tourists to Zimbabwe.
Also part of the new features are four exclusive restaurants, smoking and first class lounges, as well as offices and shops on the airside which CAAZ says are in line with international aviation standards.
There are also two fuel service stations with a capacity of 1,200 litres of Jet A1 at any given time.