Victoria Falls International Airport (VFIA) is one of the main airports in Zimbabwe. The airport is located 18km away from the town of Victoria Falls and mainly serves the tourism industry, handling long distance flights from the Americas, Europe and Asia. VFIA is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.
The airport handles around 500,000 passengers in a year and is currently being expanded to host the general assembly meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at Victoria Falls in August 2013.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe initiated a $150m airport expansion project in February 2013 to boost tourism in Victoria Falls. The project includes the construction of a 4,000m second runway, expansion of the existing runway, construction of a new 20,000m2 terminal building, and the construction of an inside road network and car parks at the airport. It also includes the construction of a new fire station and control tower at the airport.
The new terminal will be used for international flights, while the existing terminal will be used for domestic purposes. The airport expansion is expected to increase its passenger handling capacity to around 1.5 million a year.
The new runway will be able to accommodate wide-body aircraft, such as Airbus A340, Boeing 777 and Boeing 747.
The airport expansion project is financed with $150m loan from the Export-Import Bank of China. The Zimbabwean parliament has ratified the loan agreement with Export-Import Bank of China.
Construction details of the VFIA expansion
Construction on the expansion project broke ground in April 2013, and is expected to be completed before the UNWTO meeting, scheduled for 24 August 2013.
The contract for the construction of the new terminal and the second runway was awarded to China Jiangsu International, a Chinese company. Construction of the new runway is expected to be completed by April 2015.
The land required for the new runway and the terminal building has been acquired and four new bore wells were also drilled to augment water supplies for the project.
The construction equipment being used for the expansion works includes two cranes with 37t and 40t capacity, seven compactors, 34 tipper trucks, two low-bed trucks and three graders.
Vitoria Falls international airport terminal features
The airport currently has one passenger terminal building. The facilities at the terminal include four aircraft stands, 12 check-in desks, six gates and two baggage claim belts. It also features a VIP lounge, restaurants, bars and a duty-free shop. Other passenger facilities at the terminal include a tourist help desk, and first aid facilities.
The airport also has two cargo terminals.
Runways at Victoria Falls airport
The airport has a single runway (12/30), which is 2,286m long and paved with asphalt. The runway can accommodate B737 or A319 equivalent aircraft.
Maintenance facilities at the Vitoria Falls International Airport
The fixed-base operations (FBO) at Vitoria Falls International Airport are provided by Air Zimbabwe, Bidair Services, Big Dot Services, Clear To Land Act Handling and Premier Destinations Zimbabwe.
The cargo facilities at the airport include refrigerated storage, livestock handling, X-ray equipment, security for valuables, as well as trolleys and towing tugs. The airport is equipped with category six fire and rescue services.
Ground transportation and parking at VFIA
Numerous ground transportation facilities are available to and from Victoria Falls International Airport, including reliable taxi services and shuttle services from hotels to the airport. In addition, car rental companies Avis, Europcar, Budget, and Kanondo have offices inside the passenger terminal.