CAAZ explores alternative financing for airport development

CAAZ explores alternative financing for airport development
Harare International Airport.

Harare International Airport.

THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) is exploring alternative ways to mobilise resources for the Aviation Infrastructure Development Fund (Aidef) but is still seeking to raise cash for loan repayments for a local airport expansion through an increase in airport tax, an executive has said.
CAAZ has proposed a 100 percent increase in airport tax, which goes into Aidef, to raise money to repay a loan for the upgrading of the Harare International Airport.
The upgrade is expected to gobble up $153 million and will be funded through a loan from China.
The authority indicated early this year that it would seek government approval to increase the airport tax by 100 percent from $5 to $10 for domestic departures and from $15 to $30 for international departures to enable it to repay the loan for the upgrading of the Harare International Airport.
CAAZ public relations and communications manager, Anna-Julia Hungwe, said the proposal had been submitted to government for review.
But a team had been put in place to explore alternative funding methods, she said.
“A proposal was submitted and is currently under review. We are currently working on modern and alternative ways to mobilise resources. Whether or not the proposal gets approval, we will continue looking at other ways because infrastructure upgrading is a continuous process,” Hungwe said.
Last year, CAAZ commissioned two major projects, namely the expanded Victoria Falls International Airport which cost $150 million and an Air Traffic Control Training Simulator valued at $550 000.
Hungwe said the authority was now focusing on development of the Harare International Airport.
“We are working on the Harare International Airport sewer pond and reticulation project, which is well underway and we are now finalising the documentation for the Harare International Airport Development Project,” she said.
She said the project was now only awaiting release of funding.
“The $153 million project is to pave way for the resumption of civil works and is expected to increase the number of airlines plying the Harare route while at the same time boosting tourist arrivals,” said Hungwe.
The Harare International Airport was commissioned in 1956 and officially opened in 1957 as Salisbury Airport, the CAAZ said.
According to the 1950 report by the director of civil aviation, the city’s original aerodrome, Belvedere Airport, had proved to be inadequate and had to be abandoned.
A site therefore had to be found for the construction of a new airport that would be safer and more suitable for commercial activities, said CAAZ.
“The Southern Rhodesia government had appointed a Southern Rhodesia Aerodrome Board as early as January 1947, whose task was to advise the government on the selection, acquisition, construction and maintenance of government aerodromes and landing grounds in Southern Rhodesia.
“Later the same year, an Airfield Construction Unit was formed to undertake an extensive search for a suitable site for a national airport,” said CAAZ about the current airport.
In 1949 the government purchased Kentucky and Adair farms east of Salisbury for the construction of the new airport.
Also in 1949 the then minister of mines and transport set up an airport panel to co-ordinate the construction of the airport. The panel comprised representatives of the interested government departments, the municipality and Rhodesia Railways.
In 1951 the government announced that the airport would be developed as a joint user aerodrome for both civil aviation and the Southern Rhodesian Air Force (SRAF). Construction of the airport began soon afterwards and by September 1951, an 8 400 foot runway had been completed, enabling the first aircraft, an SRAF Anson, to land at the new airport.
“Originally, it was anticipated that the airport would be completed by 1954. It was, however, not completed until two years later because the government ran out of funds in October 1952 and had to suspend the project temporarily.
The new Salisbury Airport was finally commissioned on July 1, 1956. After Independence in 1980 Salisbury Airport was renamed Harare International Airport.
Harare International Airport is the main gateway into Zimbabwe and alternate entry point into central and southern Africa. It boasts of a terminal building. Taxiway rehabilitation has been completed as well as work on the runway. The runway is 4 725 metres long and 46 metres wide.

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  • Moe_Scyslack2

    Funny how we are talking about expanding a fairly new airport already. The one designed from France was jettisoned in favour of some Leo Mugarbage monstrosity from Cyprus. Any wonder?

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