The Sunday News
Nontobeko Mlotshwa, Business Reporter
THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has expressed its readiness to revamp and modernise airport infrastructure in order to attract more international airlines and promote growth of the tourism industry.
The company is set to revamp and modernise airports through constructing and expanding airports in fulfilment of the country’s Vision 2030 and has set aside $50 million for that.
The airport facelifting and expansion is in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS 1) recently launched with the target to have reliable, safe and world-class air transport infrastructure and services where the country is also targeting to increase annual cargo handling capacity from 40,2 million tonnes to 43,0 million tonnes by 2025.
Acting chief executive officer of CAAZ Mr Tawanda Gusha said they have put aside $50 million from their budget of $153 million for the construction of new lanes including private ones and upgrading infrastructure on all airports in the country.
“Upgrading of infrastructure is underway with Robert Mugabe International Airport currently on 35,8 percent of overall completion and Kariba Airport being next on the line.
“In the upgrading and reconstruction project we are set to increase lanes at all airports in order to increase tourist traffic and for faster services so that there won’t be any delays,” he said.
Mr Gusha said they have limited access to passengers during this period of Covid-19 which he said was normal as this was in line with adherence to the regulations of the pandemic.
He also said police officers have been deployed as a security measure to make sure that everyone observe Covid-19 stipulations.
“We have also increased the number of staff members so that we have many sanitizing points so as to make sure that Covid-19 regulations are observed properly and also deployed officers to make sure that all travellers are safe as their safety is our top priority,” said Mr Gusha.
Airport Company of Zimbabwe board chairperson Mr Devnanda Poptlal said they were set to create good airport infrastructure in order to attract more international airlines and promote the growth of the industry.
“The main issue is that we would like to place much attention on construction and expansion of airports and l must say that we are committed to playing our role in the realisation of aspirations under the country’s Vision 2030.”
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) president Mr Clive Chinwada said improving accessibility of the country remains critical post-Covid-19 and welcomed moves by the Government to resuscitate the national airline.
“What remains critical for our sector is accessibility of the destination Zimbabwe. You would notice that South African Airways has been the major driver of most of the inflows into Zimbabwe.
“Currently, the airline is grounded which means access into our destination is difficult. We, however, applaud efforts by the Government to revive our national facilities,” he said.