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Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport opens

by Staff Reporter
02 Nov 2013 at 03:38hrs | Views
THE $30 million state-of the art Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport opened to the travelling public yesterday, receiving its first arrivals from a domestic flight at about 7.45am.

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural  Development, Dr Obert Mpofu and the Minister of State Responsible for Bulawayo Province, Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo, together with officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) toured the facility during its opening.

The two ministers expressed satisfaction with new terminal, saying it would go a long way in marketing the country as an ideal tourist destination.

"I am really happy with the marvellous work that has been done so far at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport. We intend to market the airport internationally and major civil works have since been completed and we hope to complete the outstanding work within the next few weeks. Work is now undergoing its final stages of completion," said Dr Mpofu.

Moyo, who was equally happy with the new look facility, said the completion of the airport was a great honour for the late Vice-President Dr Nkomo.

"Words alone cannot express the excitement that is in me following the opening of the airport. It was long overdue and I would like to commend Minister Mpofu for working tirelessly towards the realisation of this dream. It is indeed a great honour to the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and a true reflection of his contributions to the development of our country," she said.

The chief executive officer and general manager of CAAZ, Mr David Chiwota, said the new terminal at the JMN International Airport had a capacity to handle an average of 6 000 aircraft movements per year and 10 planes at any given time.

He said with the new infrastructure, they anticipated a steady increase in tourist arrivals as more airliners were likely to be attracted to the facility.

"This new development is important for tourism growth and our hope is that more airline companies will start landing at JMN International Airport since the facility is now of world class. We have created four boarding gates and an enclosed viewing canopy overlooking the runway and it is the only airport in Zimbabwe with that facility," said Mr Chiwota.

The airport has a parking area which can accommodate 400 cars at any given time.
Mr Chiwota said they were now doing final touches which include installing wires for the public address system and other computerised systems.

"We expect to finish the entire work within the next two weeks or so and we will use this trial run as an opportunity to identify snags before it is commissioned by the President. We found it necessary to operationalise the facility to allow utilisation of already installed systems," he said.

President Mugabe will commission the airport on a date yet to be announced.
The move to open the airport follows a directive by President Mugabe who ordered CAAZ to open it by 1 November without fail.
The project was initially scheduled to be completed in December 2004, but has been pending until President Mugabe put pressure for the facility to be completed.

The airport has a capacity to handle 1.5 million passengers per year. The facility features all the requisite safety systems, security systems and ambience characteristic of a modern airport.

JM International Airport, which has over the years been undergoing rehabilitation and upgrading has on many occasions missed commissioning deadlines due to funding constraints.

The multi-million dollar project was once stopped after funds ran dry, but the Government last year released $1,3 million followed by another $1 million for the purchase of communication equipment among other things.

The whole project, which is now around 95 percent complete, still requires in excess of $2,5 million to be completed.
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Source - Chronicle
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