GOVERNMENTsays it is already working on modalities to unbundle the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) in line with the CAAZ Act of 2018.
The unbundling which comes at a time when government is mulling an ambitious airport infrastructure upgrade will see CAAZ being split into two entities one focusing on airport operations (commercial activities) and the other on regulatory functions.
The separation of CAAZ functions is expected to lure private investors into the airport operations and also entrench effective management of airports in the country.
According to Zimbabwe’s 2019 Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP 2019), government is currently working on transfer of functions between the new entities that will be created out of CAAZ.
“The Civil Aviation Amendment Act 2018 (No 10 of 2018), which came into effect on 20 of July 2018, provides for the separation of the Airport operations and the Regulatory function, through the creation of the Airports Company of Zimbabwe.
“The separation of the regulatory and commercial aspects of the airport operations will facilitate participation and crowding in of private investments into airport operations.
“Already government is working on the modalities for the transfer of functions and assets between the two entities, including operationalization, which should enable effective management of our airports in line with international best practice,” reads the IIP2019 document.
According to the IIP2019 document, Zimbabwe civil aviation operates in a global industry, requiring airport and air navigation systems to be of international standards.
The document added that the key objective is to meet the minimum requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation and have Zimbabwe reclassified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) from the current Category 2 rating.
Zimbabwe has successful upgraded Victoria Falls International Airport to enable it to handle large aircrafts and plans are underway to upgrade and expand other airports across the country.
“Upgrading of other key national airports such as the R. G. Mugabe International Airport (US$78.2 million) and the control tower at the J.M. Nkomo International Airport (US$8 million) will be sustained during the 2019, with funding from China Exim Bank and the Budget respectively.
“Furthermore, the Air Space Management System, allowing for aircraft communication to and from the ground as well as monitoring of aircraft activity will be enhanced through procurement and installation of primary and secondary radar systems and related equipment with off budget financing of US$16.8 million,” said government in the IIP2019 document.
According to the Transitional Stabilisation Program (TSP) October 2018 to December 2020, Zimbabwe intends to fully operationalize its Open Skies Policy in line with Africa’s open skies agenda and therefore effective management of airports will be of importance.
Under the Open Skies Policy which is expected to benefit the tourism sector immensely, the Ministry of Finance says it will also see the transformation of smaller airports and aerodromes in other tourist resorts across the country.
“…This will see increased connectivity internationally, especially against the background of the current upgrades to Zimbabwe’s international and local airports.
“The Open Skies Policy is not confined to the major cities destinations of Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, and is being extended to embrace all of Zimbabwe’s attractive tourist destinations across the country.
“The liberalisation of air transportation will be of particular benefit to smaller aircraft operations and government will under this program facilitate operationalisation of the smaller airports and aerodromes drawing from the East African experience of Kenya and Tanzania,” said the TSP document.
Some of the small airports and aerodromes serving the country’s various tourism resorts that have been earmarked for upgrade include Buffalo Range Airport, Kariba Airport, Hwange National Park Airport, Masvingo Airport and Mutare Airport.