CAAZ officials say the runway which is being built as part of the country’s airport expansion project which started in 2002 will be longer than even the runways at Africa’s biggest and busiest airport, OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. OR Tambo International has a 4, 4 kilometre long runway.
The runway will be 5 kilometres long and according to Wikipedia it will be Africa’s longest taking after Upington Airport in South Africa, which currently holds the record. The runway will serve as the landing point for the space shuttle in Africa.
The CAAZ runway at the Harare International airport will be completed in December. It is being built at a total cost of US$30 million. The aviation authority says the runway, with a 30 year lifespan, is designed to accomodate the world’s largest airbus plane.
“It will be among the world’s longest runway and the biggest in Africa,” said engineer Jerry Ndlovu, CAAZ Airport Director claiming that it has already won the rights to serve as landing space for the space shuttle.
Local construction company Bitumen Construction Services is laying the runway whose first phase will be ready for use by July 12.
Minister of Finance Tendai Biti has since pledged to finance the project so it can be complete by December.
“The airport is the gateway to Zimbabwe and it is important to have a first class modern airport,” said Biti.
CAAZ is refurbishing all the country’s airports and says it is on course to complete the exercise by end of this year.
CAAZ General Manager David Chawota said works at the country’s three busiest airports – Harare International Airport, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and the Victoria Falls airport are almost complete.
The Victoria Falls Airport which acts as the gateway to the country’s tourism industry is also undergoing a runway facelift. On completion the runway will be 4, 4 kilometres long which will allow it to accommodate bigger aircrafts which over the years struggled to land in the resort town because the runway was too short.