Thursday, May 10, 2012

■ ZIMBABWE: Finances for Victoria Falls Airport upgrade unveiled - at last.

CAAZIn preparation for the World Tourism Organisation Congress to be jointly hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia  in Victoria Falls, the Zimbabwean Government has at last, availed part of the USD$150million needed to rehabilitate and upgrade Victoria Falls Airport. How much has been given, though, is still unknown.

Victoria Falls airport
Victoria Falls Airport Terminal today. (Michael Sender)
On the cards are the extension of the runway to 4000m and the construction of a new terminal and tower. At present, the airport's runway is 2286 metres long and 30 metres wide and can therefore only accommodate B737/ A319 aircraft or the equivalent thereof. 

At present, Victoria Falls International Airport mainly handles commercial flights operated with Boeing 737s  and smaller aircraft by Air Namibia, Air Zimbabwe (tentatively), British Airways–Comair and South African Airways.

However, years of incessant delays and allegations of corruption in the tender process have meant Victoria Falls Airport, and the town of Victoria Falls itself, have ultimately lost out on much needed business when one considers that just a stone's throw away in Zambia, is Livingstone's Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, where in 2011 the Zambian National Airports Corporation availed USD$2mllion to rebuild the concourse and check in area, along with an extension of international departure lounge by 450 square metres to meet the increasing demand for space at the airport.