Air travellers to fork out more

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Zimbabwe is set to introduce the user-pay principle in the aviation industry which will see air traffic passengers paying towards maintenance of the country’s aviation infrastructure.

David Chawota chief executive officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) confirmed that an aviation infrastructure development fund, meant to raise money to maintain and rehabilitate aviation infrastructure such as runways, taxiways and terminals would be operational from May 1.

The development will result in the cost of air travel rising as international travellers are expected to pay $30 while domestic travellers will pay $10 per flight.

Chawota said although passengers would fork out more, the country stood to benefit from the arrangement as it would result in infrastructural development, which in turn boosts the tourism industry.

“At the end of the day, the infrastructure will benefit tomorrow’s traveller.

“It will mean having infrastructure that is compliant to international requirements, we will have safe and secure systems in place which will result in tourism growth among other things,” said Chawota.

He said the user-pay principle was a norm internationally and a number of countries were using it to maintain and develop their infrastructure.

The fund will be administered by a committee comprising officials from the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Finance and CAAZ.

The government aims to rehabilitate infrastructure at Harare International, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International, Victoria Falls and Buffalo Range airports in the next five years.

Funds to rehabilitate the infrastructure will be borrowed from financial institutions and be paid back using money generated through passengers.