Expectations are high that the number of airlines flying into the country will increase by mid next year following the commencement of the terminal building expansion project at the Kamuzu International Airport (KIA).
The Japanese-funded $31 million project, will add three new structures that will house a domestic terminal building an international departures wing and an international arrivals wing.
Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango, said Capital Hill has for a long time been denying big airlines wanting to establish their businesses in Malawi because of lack of capacity to accommodate huge numbers of passengers in the country’s airports.
“We have been receiving applications from big companies that want to establish routes between Malawi and other destinations but we couldn’t give them a nod because we wanted to have structures that can withstand huge numbers of passengers,” Mhango said.
He further said once the project is completed, it will significantly help boost Malawi’s economy through the many tourists that will visit Malawi because of the ease of flying into Malawi but also revenue collected from new companies that will establish businesses in the country.
Project Engineer, Ichiro Kawamitsu, said that despite commencing the project three months late, they will be able to meet the deadline.
“We were supposed to start the project in January but we started on March 17 because of delay on the groundwork by the Airport Development Limited (ADL), but we have picked up and we are on schedule and we will hand over the buildings by June 30 next year,” Kawamitsu said.
The second phase of the project is expected to commence in 2018 and will be completed by mid 2019 which will involve installation of new radar technologies and rehabilitation of the current passenger terminal building at the airport.