in Features / Airports

Botswana terminal takes next step towards 2020 vision

Posted 27 April 2017 · Add Comment

The Government of Botswana says the construction of a temporary terminal building at Maun International Airport will be completed in May this year, although the rest of the infrastructure expansion project is due to be completed in 2020. Oscar Nkala reports.

Addressing the recent Botswana Aviation ‘Pitso’ (conference) in the Okavango Delta resort town of Maun, Transport and Communications Permanent Secretary, Neil Fitt, said work on a permanent new and larger airport terminal building would begin as soon as the government had let the tender.
The new structure will replace the present one, which is small and lacks seats, as well as public amenities.
According to the project masterplan, the terminal building is the last of a three-phased Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) expansion project, which began with airside works in April 2009.
In 2012, work began on the second phase, which entailed the extension of runways. According to Fitt, work on the temporary terminal building has started. It is designed to accommodate peak volumes of up to 470 scheduled passengers and 170 unscheduled passengers.
Work on a new airport control tower and technical services wing were completed in May last year.
When complete, the expanded terminal building will include separate counters for non-scheduled charter flights, which are more frequent with tourists flying between Maun and several far-flung Okavango Delta resorts.
The existing terminal building would be renovated to accommodate a VIP area, more management offices and retail shops.
Meanwhile, the company contracted for the expansion of the terminal building at Kasane International Airport in the Chobe Enclave says the project will be completed by the end of May this year, exactly one year after the passage of the first due date.
In a statement, AECOM project manager, Jaco Theron, said they would beat the May 2017 completion deadline despite frequent challenges associated with working on a complicated building plan that needed imported raw materials, as well as delays in the delivery of materials due to the remoteness of the site.
The project entails the construction of a new 10,000sqm climate-controlled building.
“Sourcing aggregates posed a particular challenge for the contractor, with some aggregates having to be imported from neighbouring Namibia, and some trucked in from Francistown, about 500km away,” explained Theron.
“In addition, the existing terminal building had to remain functional throughout the construction. Also, it had to be encompassed into the new building without demolishing any of the existing structure.”
The CAAB said the new terminal building was designed to cater for the future growth of the airport by boosting its passenger-handling capacity in order to accommodate higher frequencies of international flights.
To date, the contractor has extended the runway from 2,120 metres x 30 metres to a 3,000m x 45m, wider-surfaced facility.
Additionally, a new apron has been built to accommodate three large aircraft and several, smaller non-scheduled flights.
Although Kasane predominantly serves domestic flights, it has the potential to develop into a regional tourism route centre due to its proximity to airports and prime tourism destinations in Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola.
The drive for the completion of Botswana airport expansion projects comes amid a flurry of similar upgrading projects across southern Africa.
In November 2016, Zimbabwe completed the expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport to accommodate higher passenger volumes and big-bodied aircraft. In December, the China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) started expansion and modernisation works on the Maria Mambo Café Airport in Cabinda region.
Major works include the extension of the runway to 3,400 metres x 60 metres, which allows Boeing 777 aircraft to land, the construction of a new 19,000sqm terminal building to accommodate 900 passengers at peak times, and the building of a new aircraft hangar, which will accommodate larger-bodied aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Boeing 777.
 

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