Govt. advances plans to construct new airport in Mzuzu

By GroliaMbwana

Government is progressing with preparations to construct a new airport in Mzuzu to replace the old one which is located right in the middle of city.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, James Chakwera, told Mining and Trade Review in an interview that a site for the construction of the new airport was already identified in Lusungazi area in the city.

Chakwera explained that currently government is   working on determining amounts of money to be paid as compensation to the people who will be relocated to pave way for construction works.

“Works can only start once the people have received their compensations and relocated. Therefore, the actual date for the onset of the project will be determined in due course,” he said.

He said currently the airport project is being financed by Malawi government but the door is open to any investors who wish to take up the project on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement.

Meanwhile, the government says it is also progressing with plans to rehabilitate Chileka international Airport in Blantyre which is in bad shape.

The situation at Chileka recently forced South African Airways (SSA) to postpone flights to the airport.

Chakwera said though some of the improvements have already been carried out such that SAA has resumed flying to the airport, government is advancing plans for medium to long term measures that are yet to be carried out including the rehabilitation of the runway and perimeter fence likely to start in March this year.

He said: “The total project cost to renovate Chileka International Airport is MK3.6 billion, and the rehabilitation of the runway will be funded by government.”

“The other envisaged project is the construction of a new terminal for ChilekaAirport using a loan from the Chinese Government.”

Chakwera also said the Government will soon establish an Airport Company to run all public Airports                  commercially which will be done by extending the mandate of the Airports Development Limited (ADL).

Currently, ADL manages and operates KamuzuInternational and Likoma Airports and will take on board Chileka, Mzuzu and Karonga airports.

“It is hoped that by the second quarter of this calendar year this will have been finalized,” he said.

The Department of Civil Aviation in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works is responsible for operations of public airports and it is tasked to oversee some regulations and other aviation activities in Malawi.

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