Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has expressed concern over the location of Mzuzu Airport inside the city, saying it is obstructing development in the northern region’s biggest urban centre.
According to MCC Chief Executive Officer, McCloud Kadam’manja, the continued existence of the airport close to the trading centre is a mockery to the city’s development plans and that the facility is under-utilized.
Kadam’manja said if the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), through the Ministry of Transport and Public Works understood the council’s development plan, it would have relocated the airport to another area long time ago.
According to the city’s chief executive, being part of Mzuzu City’s Trading Centre, the area where the airport is located is meant for big and tall structures that signify the true picture of a city centre.
“In our [Mzuzu City Council’s] urban structure plan, it is designated that the airport should be at Ekwendeni [10 kilometres north of Mzuzu city], not at the city centre…No big plane can land at that place.
“There is just grass all over and the landowners do not even bother to take care of it. If the area was a market place, we would have removed it long time ago but as it stands, it is beyond the council’s jurisdiction. There is nothing else we can do about it,” said Kadam’manja.
He added that the council has been pushing for the airport’s relocation, but to no avail.
The city’s chief observed that Mzuzu City has been missing out on hosting big events and other international conferences because of the absence of a ‘proper’ airport.
He further said delegates can’t travel by road all the way to Mzuzu whose nearest international airport is in Lilongwe.
“No investor can come up with a plan to construct any tall building because civil aviation regulations prohibit the existence of a structure anywhere near the landing field, yet it’s the city centre and a busy trading place, so its presence doesn’t make sense.
“I am not saying that the airport is not important, it is extremely vital. But our regret as city council is that the one who came up with the idea of constructing the airport [where it is] was short of vision. It was built at a wrong place and is costing us a lot” added the Mzuzu City Chief.
Mzuzu Airport Commandant, Oscar Chihana, told MANA that his department has all the plans to relocate the airport but lack of funding is delaying the enactment of the plan.
He said even if the airport is relocated to another place, the area shall still remain property of his department (Civil Aviation).
The talk of plan to relocate Mzuzu Airport to another place away from the city’s central business district has run for decades, but it is not yet known when the plan will hatch into reality.–ManaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :