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Mfuwe International Airport Set for Transformation

Beginning on June 13, 2024, Mfuwe International Airport—a key entry point to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia—will undergo extensive renovations. When announcing the project, Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL) made it clear that the airport will continue to operate while it is being restored. The initial plans for a three-month closure were met with concerns from stakeholders, especially about possible interruptions during the busiest travel season, which led to this decision.

The enhancements address crucial infrastructure requirements at the airport, which serves more than twenty resorts and campsites in the region. The 2.2-kilometer runway, taxiway, and apron pavements will be upgraded to improve safety and efficiency. The project also includes modifications to the airfield’s ground lighting system, which will improve nighttime operations. Upgrading the inner perimeter fence will boost security measures, while expanding the terminal building would improve passenger comfort and perhaps accommodate future increased traffic.

The Ministry of Transport and Logistics has obtained funding for these enhancements, proving its commitment to the airport’s long-term viability. ZACL’s board chairperson, Zevyanji Sinkala, emphasized the organization’s commitment to passenger safety and comfort during the building phase. He expressed gratitude for stakeholder engagement, recognizing the value of a collaborative approach to improving Mfuwe International Airport’s infrastructure.

The decision to maintain partial operation during the upgrade reflects a commitment to minimizing disruptions to the tourism industry. South Luangwa National Park is a major tourist destination and a complete closure would have significantly impacted lodges, campsites, and related businesses. By keeping the airport operational, the project allows continued tourism activity albeit with potential adjustments to flight schedules or capacity.

The rehabilitation project signifies a positive step for Mfuwe International Airport. Upgraded infrastructure will ensure continued safety for passengers and staff, while improvements to the terminal building and lighting systems will enhance the overall travel experience. Additionally, the potential for future expansion could pave the way for the airport to accommodate a growing tourism industry in South Luangwa National Park.

Although there is still uncertainty over the specifics of the construction and possible disruptions, ZACL’s dedication to stakeholder engagement and passenger well-being points to a well-organized endeavor. By modernizing Mfuwe International Airport while reducing its impact on tourism, the project offers a rare chance to enhance its status as a major entry point to Zambia’s natural treasures.

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