Zimbabwe’s main airport faces closure because of potholes on the runaway that are posing a danger to aircraft, the country’s airports custodian has warned.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) on Tuesday said the Harare International Airport’s runaway could become unsafe to use within the next three years.
We have embarked on the rehabilitation of the runway
CAAZ officials told a parliamentary portfolio committee on transport and infrastructure development that debris on the ran-way ‘could down an aircraft’.
David Chaota, the CAAZ general manager, said they had started a rehabilitation exercise on the runaway but said it was taking too long.
“We have embarked on the rehabilitation of the runway because we are saying the runway from its fabric nature is gone,” he said.
“When we started screaming it was five years but now its three years left. All conditions for closure of the runway may have been met by then.
“Where there are cracks we do the seals so that we minimize any debris on the operational runways.”
Chaota said so far 850 metres of the runway had been repaired while work on 725 metres was underway. He said the third phase to renovate 925 meters is yet to start.
According to Chaota, $11 million was required to complete the repairs. In 2013 South African Airways refused to land at the airport, citing the deteriorating runway.
CAAZ in 2011 said it was embarking on a $5 million project to upgrade the runway and the work should have been completed the same year.
On completion the runway was expected to be five kilometers long with a 30 year lifespan and designed to accommodate the world’s largest airbus plane.