The refurbishment and expansion of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is progressing well with the works expected to be completed next June, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said yesterday.
Minister Mhona toured the airport to assess progress and contractor China Jiangsu International assured him that the job will be completed, despite delays they faced due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
The expansion which will see the extension of international terminal building and aprons, installation of four new bridges, a secondary radar system, construction of a VVIP pavilion and an airfield ground lighting and communication system.
“The engineer was saying they have lost time in delays, but they are now up to date in terms of performance. Given the commitment and the work ethic the contractor has, we are seeing progress.
“I am delighted after having toured this magnificent project. What I really wanted to monitor is the time frame because we want to deliver according to the National Development Strategy 1 so that we meet our desired targets, and I am happy to say that we are on target.
“We have seen the concrete work is on 90 percent completion while the roof is about 80 percent completion.
“I was asking the contractor on when the project will be finished and they assured me that by June next year we will have a finished product. This has also been confirmed by our local engineers. This is the work of the Second Republic. We are delivering according to the Vision 2030 that has been enshrined by President Mnangagwa.”
Minister Mhona said after completion, Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport will be one of the best airports in Southern Africa.
China Jiangsu International project manager Mr Weiwei said Covid-19 hindered progress, but they have since resumed operations.
“We suffered a one-year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But next month we will finish inside work and this time next year we will be completing the new expansions and we will start on refurbishments of existing terminals. We are very confident that we will deliver a good product to this country.”
Acting chief executive for Airports Company of Zimbabwe Mr Tawanda Gusha said they are anticipating a growth in air travel.
“The international terminal and the domestic terminal buildings will also be refurbished, with the project increasing the airport’s holding capacity to six million people per annum from 2,5 million.
“What it means we are preparing for the anticipated growth in aviation and air traffic as seen by Africa having untapped destinations. Through the Zimbabwe Destination Development Programme, the Government of Zimbabwe is developing Victoria Falls as a regional tourism hub.
“There is no way that Victoria Falls will be growing on its own it will grow together with the RGM International Airport hence this expansion.
“As we expand the facilities, we are also looking at improving our cargo handling facilities around the airport because we have realised that cargo also has serious potential particularly as the country is developing this agro economy.”