The Zambian Airports Corporation (NAC) has contracted Chinese state corporation AVIC International to conduct feasibility studies at the site already set aside for the construction of a modern international airport in Zambia.
The manager for Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport Joseph Mumbi, said the studies set to be carried out for a period of 21 days is aimed at establishing the suitability of aviation operations in Ndola where the airport will be constructed.
“We have engaged AVIC international to carry out feasibility studies in readiness for the construction works expected to start in March next year. The demographic survey is also progressing well and so far only 14 days are remaining for a full report to be ready,” he said.
The modern airport would be built in Chichele area near the Ndola-Kitwe dual carriageway.
Mr Mumbi said the airport would have modern facilities that would meet international standards.
Over 700 families would be moved to pave the way for the construction of the international airport in Zambia, but those with documents would be compensated. However, those who would be found without proper documents will not be compensated.
The airport construction in Zambia, which would gobble up US$522 million, is expected to create 3,000 jobs.
Although Zambia embarked on an ambitious infrastructure construction plans soon after independence in 1964, the hype soon faded away as the economy slumped. Road construction only picked up in 1991, when the then president Frederick Chiluba took over and privatised key parts of the economy. Then the International Monetary Fund imposed strict limits on the country’s borrowing that constrained infrastructure development once again.
Apart from road and airport construction, Zambia has also in recent years engaged international contractor-Sino Hydro Corporation to boost its energy sector. Late this year, it begun the construction of 750 megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro-power project at a cost of US$2b.