HARARE – Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) says it needs about $100 million, in the short-term, to implement various aviation projects including airport upgrades and airspace improvements.
Caaz general manager David Chawota last week told delegates at the International Air Transport Association (Iata) in Victoria Falls that the aviation authority — through collecting own taxes at the country’s various airports — was now better positioned to implement the various projects, adding that Caaz was looking at the financial market for capital to undertake the works.
“As an authority we need about $100 million to deal with projects and through collecting our taxes we are now in a better position to start works.
“Of course, we would also need to partner private companies in PPP arrangements and hope the financial markets are forthcoming, but we have it all under control,” Chawota said.
Caaz — responsible for regulating Zimbabwe’s airspace and managing airports — needs over
$400 million in investment for the country’s airport facilities to bring them to international standards.
The Caaz chief said while he was unable to commit timelines to the various projects, the Harare International Airport; Bulawayo’s Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport and Kariba Airport had priority.
“Naturally, given a line of equally important projects the authority has put priority on three airports… It would be ideal to have work on some of these projects commence before the year ends. But in such situations the finances determine progress,” he added.
While Chawota did not give offhand collections by the authority from airport taxes, he said the money had given Caaz a better footing to take on projects as flyers are taxed $50 for international flights and $15 domestic.
“We have been doing our own collections from Air Zimbabwe, but I cannot at the present moment give the total sum of collections, suffice to say; the arrangement has been mutually beneficial,” he said.
Last year, the aviation authority embarked on a $50 million airspace development programme to upgrade air traffic control systems infrastructure. The project entails management of systems used to facilitate aircraft and flight control.
Chawota said the infrastructure being tweaked in the airspace project included control systems, air-ground and ground-air communication, radar systems and satellite navigation systems used to ensure aircraft safety. Presently, Zimbabwe has begun measures to give a facelift to Harare and Kariba airports to cope with the expected increase in domestic and international flights and meet international standards.
Transport minister Jorum Gumbo, at the same event, told the businessdaily that the government was partnering with private investors for the multi-million dollar projects. He said other airports earmarked for upgrades included Eastern Lowveld’ Buffalo Range Airport, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare airports among others.