KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
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 regionâ€™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.
â€œNdola 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.
â€œThe 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,â€ 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.
KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka