THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has embarked on a $50 million air space development project to upgrade the traffic control systems infrastructure. CAAZ general manager David Chawota told Business Chronicle at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo yesterday that the air space development programme entailed the management of systems used for facilitating aircraft flights and control.
“We’re embarking on an air space development project, which entails the management of systems that are used for facilitating aircraft flights and control.
“The infrastructure includes control systems, air to ground to air communication, radar systems, satellite navigation systems, which are used for purposes of ensuring aircraft safety and security,” he said.
“$50 million is needed for air space, which we’re looking for from the financial market at the moment. We’ve already started the project, which in the first quarter of 2016, the new air traffic control systems will be in place.”
Mr Chawota said the replacement of the current system did not mean that the infrastructure was not compliant, adding that this was also the reason why it had passed certification from international audits.
The infrastructure for air space development, he said, was being procured from countries in Europe and the Far East such as China, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany.
“Aeronautics equipment isn’t manufactured in Zimbabwe and Africa as the sector is a much specialised area, and this is why we’ve gone to procure the equipment from Europe and the Far East. In Africa, we only have subsidiaries of companies that manufacture aeronautics selling the equipment,” he said.
Turning to the upgrading of airports, Mr Chawota said: “We’re looking forward to upgrading all the country’s airports. Upgrading of the Victoria Falls is at an advanced stage. The airport is now 71 percent to complete, usage of the new terminal building and runway will start in September while commissioning is before the end of the year.”
Victoria Falls International Airport was being upgraded to the tune of $150 million.
The project, which involves construction of a four-kilometre runway, expansion of the existing runway, construction of a new terminal building, and road network and car park began in February 2013.
The refurbishment exercise, which has already been carried to Harare International Airport and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo, would also be done to Buffalo Range in the Eastern Lowveld, Masvingo, Mutare, Kariba and Gweru.
CAAZ initiated the airport expansion projects to boost aircraft handling capacity.