THE recently-commissioned $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport has experienced a 35% increase in passenger traffic within a few months of its launch, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) public relations and communications manager, Annajulia Hungwe told NewsDay in e-mailed responses that the airport, commissioned in November last year, had started recording brisk business, registering a 35% increase in passenger traffic.
“The airport has experienced a 35% increase in passenger traffic. Victoria Falls is poised to be the regional hub in Southern Africa so CAAZ jointly with industry players are working together to market the airport,” Hungwe said.
“Of note is a group attending the Routes World this month to jointly (market) the destination of Victoria Falls and the airport,” she said.
Hungwe said the airport was even attracting school children from across the country, a sign that it has become a game changer in the region.
“Yes, the airport now attracts many school children from as far as Harare. School children pay $1 each. This small fee is just to take care of the airport’s cleanliness, tissues etc,” she said.
She added that Victoria Falls was receiving enquiries from different airlines for a Zimbabwean air service permit.
The same also applies to Harare and even Buffalo Range airports, she said.
The multi-million airport boasts a new 4km long by 60m wide runway and associated taxiways, capable of landing long haul wide-bodied aircraft, aircraft parking area with a capacity to park three wide-bodied aircraft in the class of the B747, B777 and Airbus, A340 or equivalent.
It has a refurbished domestic terminal with a capacity of 300 000 passengers per annum, new state of the art control tower, new fire station, new car park and new access roads.
Its new international terminal has capacity to service 1,5 million people per annum.
Victoria Falls has been luring airlines after the completion of the airport upgrade.
In March, South African Airways became the first airline to fly a wide-bodied aircraft in the mould of A330-200 to Victoria Falls.
The aircraft has a capacity of 222 passengers.
Africa’s leading carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, introduced four weekly flights to the resort town beginning March 27.
Kenyan Airways introduced three weekly flights between Nairobi and Victoria Falls on May 1.
In July, Airlink began a six day service to the resort town from Cape Town.