BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Speaking at the commissioning of the new sewer system at the JM Nkomo International Airport last week, Transport and Infrastructure Development permanent secretary, George Mlilo, said the monopoly over Harare-Bulawayo route by Air Zimbabwe was over.
“I know there has been pressure on government to allow other airlines to start using the airport, so that at least we derive the value of the asset that we have put here,” Mlilo said.
“I would warn Air Zimbabwe that in no time left, we will be allowing other airlines to start flying Harare-Bulawayo in order to utilise the facility to the full, much to the relief of the people of Bulawayo and Matabeleland.”
He said allowing other airlines to ply the Harare-Bulawayo route would facilitate the ease doing of business between the two cities.
“They (people of Bulawayo and Matabeleland) can now communicate with Harare with ease instead of sticking to our evening and morning flights,” he
“There would be flights throughout the day so that people can choose to move to Harare and transact business and come back without wasting more money and time where they don’t want to spend the monies.”
Mlilo said JM Mqabuko International Airport saved as the the gateway to the industrial hub of the country and was strategically located as a port of entry for both passenger and cargo, thus the refurbishment of the sewerage system would go a long way in meeting the expectations of the citizens and visitors.
It was commissioned on December 22, 2013 by former President Robert Mugabe.
The airport has the capacity to handle 1,5 million passengers annually when complete.
The new terminal has a capacity to handle an average of 6 000 aircraft annually and 10 planes at any given time.
Airlines that are using the airport include South Africa Airlink and Air Zimbabwe.
SA Airlink, a South African Airways service, plies the Bulawayo-Johannesburg route daily. Air Zimbabwe flies to Harare and the resort town of Victoria Falls.