THE parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development has revealed that the country’s airports needed urgent refurbishment as they are in a bad state.
Zimbabwe has eight major airports namely; Robert Gabriel Mugabe International, Victoria Falls, Joshua M. Nkomo International, Masvingo, Hwange, Kariba, Charles Prince and Buffalo Range.
“The committee on its visit to RGM International Airport noted that the radar system in use was outdated and required an upgrade.
“The situation poses greater risks of aircraft collision, failure to promptly identify distressed aircraft, delays and increased operating costs of airlines-also compromising planes flying in and out of the country undetected which could pose regional security threats.
“The increase in the number of air traffic at airports, in particular RGM International Airport and JM Nkomo, it was necessary to have appropriate radar surveillance systems in place to mitigate against aviation accidents,” the report said.
The report also highlighted the lack of emergency services at most of these airports with the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) showing no urgency in remedying the situation.
“The committee noted that little effort was being made by Caaz to revamp or purchase new ambulance vehicles to provide proper emergency services cover at its major airports-citing incapacitation in meeting the costs of purchasing new ambulances.
“Only RGM International Airport had a working ambulance emergency vehicle and emergency operators in the vicinity of the airport.
“The rest of the airports had defective ambulance vehicles and were relying on externally owned ambulance vehicles,” the report said further.
The report added that small airports were facing inadequate fire tenders and understaffing adding to the burden of the obviously faced challenges.