Check-in at Victoria Falls International Airport's rehabilitated domestic terminal. Photo: Tami Walker

Harare - The new $150-million Victoria Falls International Airport officially opens its new and upgraded facilities to the world on Friday November 18, 2016.

The new international airport, which now has the capacity to handle 1.5 million passengers per annum – tripling its previous volume – and is capable of landing some of the world’s largest aircraft, will be officially opened by President Robert Mugabe.

“The positive impact of the new Victoria Falls International Airport will be very significant and should take the destination and region to a new level in terms of arrivals,” says Africa Albida Tourism chief executive, Ross Kennedy.

“The socio-economic benefits will be widespread as increased and new access drives the tourism sector’s growth with arrivals from additional source markets.”

Kennedy added that increased interest was shown in the new Victoria Falls International Airport at the World Travel Market – a major global travel trade show – held in London last week.

“I met with many tour operators, media and airlines at the show, and I can confirm that interest is very high and the travel industry is excited by the opening.

“Zimbabwe remains a ‘hot destination’ on the schedules of many tour operators across the globe,” Kennedy said.

Annajulia Hungwe, PR & Communications Manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, said the new airport could accommodate more than three times as many passengers as before, and had been built to accommodate further expansion should rising tourist numbers in the future deem it necessary.

The new airport in Zimbabwe’s leading resort town has been fully operational since September. The development included the construction of a new international terminal building and the rehabilitation of the existing one into a domestic terminal.

The airport features a four-kilometre runway, a state-of-the-art control tower – which is one of the most advanced in Africa – and a fire station, equipped to respond to fire and medical emergencies.

Facilities at the international terminal include 14 check-in counters, nine boarding gates, three baggage carousels, a dozen shops, two restaurants, 28 aircraft parking bays and parking facilities for 400 vehicles.

The domestic terminal features six check-in counters, two passenger security-screening facilities, one restaurant and three coffee shops, eight other retail outlets and a business-class lounge.

Adapted from a press release for IOL