THE government, through the Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ), is targeting wholesale rehabilitation of its airports as the country seeks to match global aviation trends.
It comes after growing calls for the government to consider upgrading its aviation infrastructure.
Last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said the large-scale project was part of a grand plan to ensure Zimbabwe meets the minimum requirements of the United Nations. International Aviation and the European Union Aviation Safety Committee.
ACZ chief executive Tawanda Gusha said the airports needed a makeover apart from the works at Robert Mugabe International Airport.
“This year we are continuing with the RG Mugabe International Airport development project as well as the installation of the perimeter fence at Buffalo Range Airport.
We will also build the air traffic control tower at JM Nkomo International Airport.
“The new wings at RGM Airport will be completed later this year, and then we will move on to renovating the current international and domestic terminals,” Gusha said.
He pointed out that there was construction of a disaster recovery center and additional offices at Charles Prince Airport in Mount Hampden, while other airports were to receive different levels of modernization.
The ACZ has been separated from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) to improve efficiency.
Caaz’s main focus will now be the regulation of the aviation industry to ensure high safety standards.
“Our mission is to provide commercially viable civil aviation safety regulation navigation and training services.
In terms of the regulatory function where we have oversight over all operations in the country, we do so under a specialized agency of the United Nations which is called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO )”, said the general manager of Caaz. Elijah Chingosho recently said at a press conference.
He said the international agency creates regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity and environmental protection.
Moreover, Chingosho said that the authority has constant engagement with relevant stakeholders to attract new players to the sector.
“So far this year we have a European operator called Eurowings, which is due to start operations in March this year, flying from Frankfurt via Windhoek to Victoria Falls.
“We also have a local operator, Fly Africa, which we believe has started operations. We have also received requests from eSwatini,” Chingosho said.
Chingosho added that the Covid-19 pandemic and its various emerging variants were one of the constraints delaying operations.
Currently, about 16 airlines operate services to and from Zimbabwe.
Air transport has become indispensable for the development of the tourism industry and if Zimbabwe is to rebuild its tourism industry in competition with other African states, sustained improvements in aviation safety and security as well as side facilities runway and landside remain essential.