Zambia to develop new airport on the Copperbelt


The artist’s impression of the terminal building of the New Copperbelt International Airport. Source; Zambia Airports Corporation Limited.

The Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL) has released a comprehensive plan for the construction of a US $ 397 million ultra-modern airport in Ndola on the Copperbelt.

ZACL has contracted China’s AVIC International Holding Corporation Limited to design and construct the New Copperbelt International Airport in a period of 36 months.

Development of airport infrastructure is in line with Zambia’s revised Sixth National Development Plan, which will soon be replaced by the Seventh National Development Plan.

The ultra-modern airport has been designed to handle one million passengers, 8, 000 metric tonnes of cargo and 20, 000 aircraft take-offs and landings per year.

It is being developed in order to replace the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport that has no space to extend its 2, 500m runway due to residential developments around it.

Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport has old infrastructure, having started as a military base for the British colonial government in 1938 shortly before the onset of World War Two.

The modern airport will service the Copperbelt and another mining region in Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

 According to information obtained from ZACL, construction works include a one million capacity international terminal building, aero bridges, a 50-room hotel, business complex.

It will also have an apron, taxiway, runway, water reticulation, power systems, parks, landside and airside driveways.

Other facilities to be incorporated into the airport include a 28-meter high traffic control tower, air cargo terminal, an aircraft maintenance hangar and a fuel farm.

Over the years, the Copperbelt has attracted large-scale investments in various sectors, including the agro-based Global Industries that is constructing a US $ 40 million multi oil-seed-crushing plant.

Another important investment in the mining region is the Chinese-led Chambishi Multi-Facility Economic Zone connected to Zambia’s cobalt and copper mining.

It is anticipated that the economic zone will boost exports from the Copperbelt and this will require effective and efficient air transport.

Ndola is a destination for South African Airways, Airlink of South Africa, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

The city’s old airport also serves as a refueling point for international airlines flying between air hubs in South Africa and East Africa.

 In particular, the development of airport infrastructure is cardinal to economic growth because of its direct impact on improved business efficiency and access to tourism attractions.

Although it is known for its mining activities, the Copperbelt has tourist attractions, among them Chimfushi Chimpanzee Orphanage in Chingola, Dag Hammarskjöld Crash site and Nsobe Game Reserve in Ndola.

An estimated 1, 000 people will be employed directly and indirectly during the construction stage.

Some of the people residing on the land on which the airport will be constructed will be displaced, but government has out a resettlement and compensation plan.

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