KIA rehab touted to improve capacity, safety

The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA)  says the expansion and rehabilitation of Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe will boost the facility’s capacity and ensure safety of aircrafts.

 DCA head of air traffic management Alex Jabu said this on Wednesday on the sidelines of a media tour to appreciate rehabilitation works that the new radar equipment will also boost revenue as they will be able to detect aircrafts passing through the country’s airspace.

Jabu: Many aircrafts will use our airspace

He said: “The radar equipment will help to bring in more revenue as many planes will use our airspace and we can collect revenue from them.

“We currently collect $75 [about K55 000] from every crossing aircraft, but once calibration of the new radar equipment is complete and is up and running, the fee will be adjusted to $200 [about K148 000].”

To bring the airport, which was built about 35 years ago, back to its lost glory, Government of Japan, through Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica), gave the Malawi Government a $31 million (about K23 billion) grant to rehabilitate the airport’s infrastructure to improve and expand the passenger terminals and install new radar equipment.

The new radar equipment has the capacity to detect aircrafts and track them visually 370 kilometres away from the airport, according to authorities.

On his part, airport commandant Donnie Chimtengo said since the breakdown of the previous radar system, air traffic controllers were providing safety services manually.

The rehabilitation at KIA will see the airport wearing a new face with new passenger terminals being built.

Giving an update on engineering work, Mario Mzumara, a civil engineer for Maruben Protechs, one of the companies on the site, said about 70 percent of the work is complete and that they hope to meet the March end deadline.

Gerald Chihana, an engineer for Gyros Corporation, another firm on the site, said the lifespan of the new infrastructure will be over 100 years, but stressed that the buildings have to be maintained to ensure sustainability.

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