THE construction of a new international terminal building at Harry Mwanga International Airport in Livingstone will be fully completed by the end of next month and expected to be commissioned in October this year.
In 2010, the construction of the building started and the facility was opened for use in August 2013 before it was fully completed ahead of the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly which was co-hosted by Livingstone in Zambia and Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe.
Zambia Airport Corporation (ZACL) managing director Robinson Misitala said the international terminal building would be fully completed by the end of September and the facility would be commissioned in October 2015.
Mr Misitala said about 90 per cent of works had already been completed and the remaining 10 per cent involved repainting the building, putting tiles and ceiling board as well as improving on the surroundings and make the premises look green among others.
He was speaking in an interview in Livingstone on Tuesday after a delegation from ZACL and other stakeholders toured the infrastructure.
Mr Misitala said the installation of the radar at the new terminal building had reached 98 per cent completion and it was already functional while one set of staff were already undergoing training in South Africa.
“From the client point of view, we now have secured US$ 5 million which is required to complete the remaining works.
“We will have a meeting this afternoon with the project manager, contractors and subcontractors and equipment supplier so that we can review in terms of the progress done from the time we secured the money,” Mr Misitala said.
He said the US$ 5 million funding was adequate to complete the remaining works as equipment suppliers had already supplied the materials on site.
“From what we have seen so far, we are on schedule and we expect the works to be completed by the end of next month and we hope to commission the facility in the month of October as we will be celebrating our country’s independence.
“This facility will be a gift to Zambia to say that Livingstone now has a terminal and we will need to market so that we increase on arrivals. More people will be coming to Livingstone to see the Victoria Falls and other tourism attractions in the city,” Mr Misitala said.
He said ZACL was mindful that the terminal building was currently functional and hence works would be done in the night to avoid disturbing passengers.
“Currently, we have seen a decline in terms of arrivals and departing passengers. We had reached 250, 000 passengers per year and figures have now dropped to about 200, 000 passengers per year
“Last year, we recorded a 205,000 passengers passing through this facility. This drop is a major decline but we are hopeful that with the conferences taking place in Livingstone and also with the natural wonders of the world, we believe that there will be more tourists coming. We can’t have this huge infrastructure and have fewer passengers,” he said.
Mr Misitala urged Zambians to go flat-out and market the market to increase on tourist arrivals to Zambia.
“This weekend, we went through all borders with Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) to see how we can improve in marketing the destination Zambia so that we can have enough passengers passing through our airports,” he said.