HomePoliticsLack of funds stalls Nkomo airport upgrade

Lack of funds stalls Nkomo airport upgrade

COMPLETION of the upgrading of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (JMN) International Airport in Bulawayo has been delayed due to lack of money. The project commenced in 2002 and was scheduled to be completed last year.

ace=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The refurbishment of the JMN International Airport was part of government plans to upgrade four airports in the country to international standards.

The four airports were the Harare International domestic terminal, Buffalo Range, Victoria Falls and the JMN.

In 2003 the cost of refurbishing the four airports was estimated at $800 million but the figure has since ballooned. The cost of renovating JMN airport alone is now estimated to be $350 billion.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) acting chief executive officer, David Chaota, confirmed that the project was facing difficulties.

“There have been setbacks to the project but we are doing our best to ensure that it is completed,” said Chaota.

“We are faced with foreign currency and cement shortages and the rate at which the project is progressing is very slow.”

He however said the contractors were doing internal works at the airport.

A visit to the Bulawayo airport by the Zimbabwe Independent did not show

that there was any work taking place and no refurbishment was evident.

The upgrading of the JMN was supposed to cover the car park and extension of the terminal to increase passenger-handling capacity.

The second phase of the project will see the construction of commercial facilities that include a five-star hotel, banks, duty shops and a golf course.

The project has stalled before due to lack of funding and failure by the authorities to import equipment and accessories for the upgrading of the airport whose costs keep escalating.

Last year the CAAZ received a US$6 million loan from the African Banking Corporation and a further line of credit from a Chinese company but the funds were insufficient to make meaningful progress.

Standards at the JMN fall far short of international requirements.

JMN currently has a handling capacity of 180 passengers for both local and international flights.

International norms bar the mixing of domestic and international passengers at terminals for security reasons. – Staff Writer.

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