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Chawota speaks on Airport lighting

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CIVIL Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe boss David Chawota says the lighting challenges on the runway of the Harare International Airport were a result of ongoing infrastructural rehabilitation of the country’s gateway.

Report by Acting Business EDITOR

The development has led South African Airways (SAA) to reschedule evening flights from Johannesburg to Harare due to the poor lighting.

Information at hand shows that the challenges were a result of the faulty precision path indicators (PAPI).

A PAPI is a visual aid that provides guidance information to assist a pilot to acquire and maintain the correct approach (in the vertical plane) to an aerodrome or an airport.

It is generally located beside the runway, approximately 300 metres beyond the landing threshold of the runway
Responding to inquiries by tourism players at the tourism business exchange forum in Harare yesterday, Chawota said the authority hoped to address the matter within 14 days.

“In view of that, there are certain operational changes that come into effect so as to facilitate work towards rehabilitation of that infrastructure,” Chawota said.

“The bottom line is yes, there are runway lights at the airport. There was no Zesa cut at the airport, but there are systems that compliment runway lights and infrastructure for  purposes of landing and taking off.

“In the process, there is one facility which happens not to be in sync with the rest of the systems that will allow that. But as much as that system has had a challenge, aircraft could still take off.

“Landing became an issue of the decision of the captain whether he wanted to land or not, but the bottom line is, if things are to be even, that facility needs to be sorted out by way of calibration.”

Chawota disclosed that the Harare International Airport, with capacity of handling 2,5 million visitors annually, was being underutilised, as it was currently operating at 20%.

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