He told Radio VOP that this followed the signing of a $150 million dollar agreement with China Exim Bank.
Upgrade of the airport is a timely development as the country prepares to co-host the United Nations World Tourism General Assembly (UNWTO) with neighbouring Zambia.
“Following this signing we are targeting to have the project commence and be completed well ahead of the 2013 United Nations World Tourism General Assembly. This we know is achievable,” said Mzembi.
“The contractors have assured government and the UNWTO Inter-Ministerial Committees that they have already started mobilising equipment to the site so that work starts as soon as possible,” he said.
The expansion, which had been on the cards for nearly three years, will see bigger and wide-bodied aircrafts such as airbus A340 and Boeing 777 flying directly into the resort town, making it accessible to the outside world.
“The development of the airport is a fulfilment of Civil Aviation of Zimbabwe’s (CAAZ) role as an enabler in the tourism sector,” Mzembi said.
CAAZ Board chairperson, Jacob Mudenda, said the Environmental Impact Assessments were being corrected and would be re-submitted to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for approval before the project takes off. CAAZ is expected to pay a fee of US$2,4 million to EMA.