Construction works for the new Mzuzu International Airport, are scheduled to start in November this year; it is pegged to the tune of U$20 million (approximately K14.6 billion) and funded by the Exim Bank of China.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Francis Chinsinga disclosed this on Thursday, when President Peter Mutharika visited the site at Lusangazi.
The site is 10.5 kilometres from Mzuzu central business district, and about three kilometres from Lusangazi Roadblock to the west.
Chinsinga told the President that the total size of the land earmarked for the airport, is 230 hectares; but for a start, about 90 hectares of land will be used.
“This piece of land (90 hectares) is enough for two runway lines of about two kilometres long and with associated structures such as the terminal and some buildings comprising the VIP departure and arrival lounges,” he said.
Chinsinga said after using the 90 hectares of the land, the remaining land will be used for the extension of the airport so that it also accommodates larger aircrafts.
He said once completed, the Mzuzu International Airport will boost the tourism industry in the northern region, especially, Nyika National Park and Likoma Island.
“If all is done and well managed, the construction works will take 18 months to complete.
“We are looking at an airport slightly smaller than Chileka Airport in terms of structures, but this airport will be able to accommodate aircrafts of 70 passengers on board,” he said.
Speaking in a separate interview, Inkosi Mpherembe of Mzimba, thanked Government for the project. He said it will open up Mzuzu City in terms of development.
Mpherembe said as Mzuzu is growing very fast, there is need for the city to have a reliable modern international airport, which will not only beautify the city but also attract tourists in the region.
“We are so thankful to the Government, this is what we call development, and what we were looking for,” he said.
Government wants to construct the new airport since the current one is situated parallel to the Mzuzu-Karonga M1 Road and close to a residential area.
Some investors in the city, failed to construct multi-storey buildings in the city because of the airport, which is close to the central business district.