THE construction of a multi-million dollar Copperbelt international airport is expected to start after possible approval of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) submitted to Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to meet the growing demand of the aviation industry.
Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL ) has since submitted an EIA to ZEMA on the planned project which is estimated to cost almost US$400 million and will consist of plane hangars, rest rooms, fire station, office blocks, kitchen, restaurants, waiting rooms, laundry facilities, service shops, kiosks and car park, among others.
The project is also expected to develop and operate an airport of international standard to service the Copperbelt and North-Western parts of the country in tune with the region’s economic growth and travel needs.
ZACL has engaged the Aviation Industry Corporation of China to carry out the design and construction of the airport.
“Ndola being the provincial capital of the Copperbelt and get way to major mining industrial and commercial undertakings on the Copperbelt and North-Western province deserve a world-class airport with all the basic and luxury facilities for travellers.
“The proposed project estimated to cost US$397, 201, 694 is set to revutionalise infrastructure development in Ndola and Zambia as a whole being the only greenfield international airport to be built in more than three decades,” according to the report.
The project will include developing standard aviation facilities, and it will service a number of routes including South Africa, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Tanzania as well as service domestic routes such as Lusaka, Solwezi and other destinations for chartered flights.
ZACL has outlined the positive effects of the projects which will improve air travel, support and contribute to the economy through increased revenue generation and support industrial development.
Other positive contributions to the economy include reducing poverty through job creation, promotion of capacity building and skills development among the locals.
Meanwhile, EXPANSION and modernisation of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport is progressing well with construction of the new rescue and fire services expected to be completed within the course of this year.
Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL) managing director Robinson Misitala disclosed in an interview recently that the US$360 million project will transform the country into an air transport hub once the project completed in 2019.
The project involves the construction of a four million capacity international terminal building with six aero bridges and construction of a 30-room capacity in-transit hotel.
“A 70-room non-transit passenger hotel will be developed. China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation is also expected to construct new taxi ways, aprons, and rescue and fire services stations, landside and airside driveways as well as an air traffic control tower,” he said.
Mr Misitala said ZACL has for the past few years engaged in major infrastructure development projects to upgrade the four international airports, namely; Kenneth Kaunda, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and Mfuwe to boost passenger and cargo facilitation within the country and beyond.
To date, ZACL has completed the construction of terminal two at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone at a cost of US$60 million.
Meanwhile, Government is expected to implement a Smart Airports System (SAS) in all of the international airports to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in airport operations.
So far, the system has been implemented at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and Kenneth Kaunda with the system expected to be implemented at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Mfuwe airports.
“SAS is an important integral part of modern airport operations.