There is hope for the relocation of Mzuzu Airport after Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe called for quick identification of a site to speed up commencement of the project.
In an interview on the sidelines of Pre-Budget Consultations in Mzuzu last week, Gondwe said government is ready to bankroll preparatory works for the shifting of the neglected airport, perilously located near Mzuzu central business district (CBD), next fiscal year if a consensus appears on where it will be situated.
Recently, Minister of Transport and Public Infrastructure Francis Kasaila told Parliament that government has identified land for the new airport at Ekwendeni, almost 20 kilometres north of the city.
Gondwe said: “We have to decide once and for all where the site of this airport will be.
“There have been suggestion that it should be at Zombwe [near Ekwendeni] which is quite far, Ekwendeni which is not so far probably and Lusangazi which is close.
“But everybody is agreeing that where the airport is now is not the right place. If we could make the decision quickly, it is possible for us to start with the designs of such an airport next year.”
The airport’s proximity to a residential area and a market has been considered a risk.
In 2003, a plane with then second vice-president Chakufwa Chihana on board veered off the runway and collided with a minibus travelling on the M1 Road. n