Zimbabwe’s Harare International Airport will have the longest runaway in Africa following a major facelift aimed at luring back major airlines, officials have said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) said it will spend US$5 million in the project that will be completed in December.
On completion the runway will be five kilometers long with a 30 year lifespan and is designed to accommodate the world’s largest airbus plane.
“It will be among the world’s longest runway and the biggest in Africa,” Jerry Ndlovu, the airport director said.
South Africa’s biggest and busiest airport, OR International Airport in Johannesburg has a 4.4 km runway.
CAAZ is also upgrading information display systems at the airport as well as surveillance and security systems that were installed in 1992.
David Chahota, the CAAZ chief executive officer said the airport facelift was meant to reposition Zimbabwe as a major tourist destination after years of decline in tourist’s arrivals.??
But analysts say with a handfull of planes taxing at Zimbabwe’s busiest airport, the expansion would be a waste of money?.
A total of 18 international airlines stopped flying into the country after the economic decline set in almost a decade ago.?? They include Lufthansa, Qantas, Austrian Airlines, Swissair, Air India, Air France and TAP Air Portugal.??
Others are Egypt Air, Air Mauritius, Linhas Aereas de Mocambique, Air Namibia, Royal Swazi Airlines and Air Seychelles, Air Tanzania, Ghana Airways, Air Uganda and Air Cameroon.
Only a few airlines from South African Airways, Britain, Zimbabwe, British, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia still use Harare International Airport.
??But Air France, Austrian Airlines, Egypt Air, Swiss Air, Bulgarian Airlines, Qantas, Emirates Airways, KLM and Lufthansa have indicated that they are now ready to fly into Zimbabwe.