President Edgar Lungu says the government has invested US$1 billion in the aviation industry to enable the country to meet international aviation standards, thereby enhancing economic development.
President Lungu, who yesterday afternoon commissioned the newly constructed Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) terminal two, said the expansion of the airport will facilitate an increase of passengers from two million to four million per annum.
The Head of State said the project, which was implemented with support from the Chinese government, will cement further the bilateral ties between the two countries.
President Lungu said the Chinese government has supported a number of infrastructure development projects that are in line with Zambia’s developmental agenda.
He also noted that the KKIA project demonstrates the legacy of the Patriotic Front (PF) government of transforming the country into a middle income status through infrastructure development.
“This airport will showcase our warm hospitality, therefore, we must be proud of the massive investment that has been made into the aviation infrastructure,” President Lungu stated.
President Lungu said the operationalisation of the new terminal building will position Zambia as an aviation hub in the Southern African region.
He further said the introduction of Qatar Airline in Zambia is as a result of improved investor confidence that has been propelled by government policies.
President Lungu explained that Zambia has proven to be stable and peaceful to the international community, hence improving investment in the aviation industry as well as the economy.
And Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, Li Jie, thanked government for the continued support towards the bilateral relations between Zambia and China.
Mr. Jie said the construction of the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport is one of the ways that cement the continued relations between the two countries.
He noted that China has been involved in Zambia’s infrastructure development since time immemorial.
“The traditional friendship between Zambia and China has been upgraded to new levels due to the fruitful results as evidenced by this development,” Mr. Jie said.
The Ambassador has meanwhile commended government for the development noting that it is a step towards achieving the vision 2030.
He added that the modernised aviation industry will not only make Zambia an aviation hub in the southern region but also improve the economic sector through trade across the globe.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Permanent Secretary Danny Mfune said the modern infrastructure is an indication that government is committed to improving the state of infrastructure in the country.
Mr. Mfune noted that this is in line with the country’s developmental agenda through the Vision 2030 of not leaving anyone behind.
“Government has demonstrated commitment to delivering infrastructure development to all corners of the country,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that about 40 local contractors benefited up to US$80 million through the project.
And Lusaka Province Permanent Secretary Elias Kamanga hailed President Lungu for the many developmental projects that have taken place in the province, including the newly constructed modern airport.
Mr. Kamanga said the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport will not only improve air transport services but also tourism and employment levels for Zambians.
The Kenneth Kaunda International Airport has been constructed at a total cost of US$360 million.