Chileka International Airport will be fully open in January 2020, a month later than it was initially planned, authorities have said.
Minister of Transport and Public Works Ralph Jooma on Saturday visited the airport in Blantyre to appreciate rehabilitation works that are now near completion on the airport’s runway.
Government is spending K4 billion on the rehabilitation works including the airport’s runwaywhich developed cracks which was a challenge for landing aircrafts..
Jooma said he is impressed with the progress of the rehabilitation works.
“Three months ago I came here and the contractor asked for an extension of time to 31st December and today, two weeks before that day, the works are almost complete,” he said.
Jooma said the opening of the airport is of great economic importance to the nation.
Initially, the rehabilitation works, which started on April 24 this year, were expected to be completed by July 24 but the deadline was later shifted to August end then November.
Following the closure of the main runway, big aircrafts have not been landing at the airport, with only small and lighter planes ferrying passengers between Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe and Chileka International Airport.
In January this year, government said it would spend over K4 billion to rehabilitate the airport’s runway.
In 2015, government obtained a 21 million euros (about K17 billion) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and in 2018, Parliament authorised the borrowing of $168 million (about K122 billion) from Export and Import (Exim) Bank of China for the rehabilitation of KIA and Chileka International Airport.