APM’s Road To 2024:Mzuzu International Airport construction starts November
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Francis Chinsinga disclosed this on Thursday when President Arthur Peter Mutharika visited the site at Lusangazi.
The site is 10.5 kilometres from Mzuzu Central Business District (CBD) 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 arriving lounge,” he said.
Chinsinga said after using the 90 hectares of the land, the remaining part will be used for the extension of the airport in the near future so that it also accommodates big 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 saying 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 have been failing to construct multi-storey buildings in the city because of the airport which is close to the central business district.
And speaking on the same issue on Tuesday, Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango, disclosed that the design of the new airport is ready and that the ministry officials (Transport and Public Works) will be on site any time to assess the number of people who will be affected by the project so that they can be compensated accordingly.
Mhango has since called on Mzuzu City residents and the entire region to support the project, saying among other advantages of the project is that some people will get employed once the project takes off.