Airport VVIP pavilion nears completion . . . as security is beefed up

CONSTRUCTION of the state-of-the-art VVIP pavilion at the new-look Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare is now 85 percent complete while security continues to be beefed up to ensure the safety of travellers, thwarting any criminal activities at the new terminal.

Airport infrastructure development is one of the top priorities in facilitating the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe and globally.

The RGM International Airport has gone through a significant transformation for US$153 million to enhance its passenger handling capacity.

In November last year, China Jiangsu International completed the renovation of the right side flight display of the old terminal at the international airport.

Yesterday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona, his Deputy Joshua Sacco, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Barbara Rwodzi, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Chipo Sanyatwe and senior Government officials toured the international airport.

“We are here together with other ministries to demonstrate the whole-of-Government-business approach. I heard from His Excellency Cde Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa that we don’t want silo mentalities, so we have the Minister of Tourism, we have  the Minister of Home Affairs represented by the deputy minister to demonstrate that we are working as a whole of Government, and I am happy that you have seen it today,” said Minister Mhona.

“In terms of the international airport, they will now need to dress the inside part of the airport, marketing brand Zimbabwe, that’s why you have seen the Minister of Tourism so that she will then take the space to showcase to the outside world what we can do. And I am happy that soon you will see our advertising, so we have given first right of refusal to the Ministry of Tourism so that they occupy the space they want and also put their adverts which will then demonstrate that this is a lovely country, Zimbabwe”.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is working closely with the Department of Immigration so that there will be world-class services at the airport.

“As you know we even have the Minister of Health in terms of port health facilities, so this is a structure that will encompass the whole of Government.

“Now the VVIP pavilion is unique and magnificent in the sense that His Excellency will be in a position to accommodate and also host VVIPs. It is also in sync with the forthcoming SADC Summit. I have given the contractor a deadline of 31 July to be through with this project,” Minister Mhona said.                  

Speaking at the same occasion, Minister Rwodzi said they were identifying space to market brand Zimbabwe.

 “We came here today to take a tour of the whole airport as the Ministry of Tourism together with our stakeholders. We want everybody who arrives in the country to be welcomed by our destination and what we have in the advertising space. We do not want to advertise any other things. So we are identifying sites where we should put advertisements that speak to destinations in Zimbabwe. That’s the main reason we came here.

“We also want to see facilities that speak to tourism and speak to the operators and to know them and to have a chat with them. What is expected of them when they are serving customers, what is expected of them when they are welcoming visitors or tourists? All that is what we are doing today. We are very happy with what we have seen and we are very excited that this airport is an infrastructure that promotes tourism in the country.”      

Deputy Minister Sanyatwe confirmed that security will continue to be beefed up at the airport.

“We are happy with the construction of the VVIP pavilion as a ministry. And as the Ministry of Home Affairs, responsible for security issues and through the Immigration Department we anticipate a good service to the travelling public and tourists without any disturbances,” she said.

Deputy Minister Sanyatwe said in terms of tightening security at the airport, they had come up with various ways, including working with other stakeholders to thwart any criminal activities. 

Airports Company of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Tawanda Gusha said: “As you have seen today, most of the work has been completed, particularly in the international terminal building. The contractor is now refurbishing the old sections of the international terminal building as well as the domestic terminal building”.

The completion of the expansion of the airport is evidence that the Second Republic is walking the talk in modernising and industrialising the country for the attainment of Vision 2030.

The airport will become a regional aviation hub able to handle about 6 million passengers annually, from the present 2,5 million.

Herald

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