Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airpot formerly known as the Harare International Airport is Zimbabwe's biggest airport.It was renamed on the 9th of November 2017 from Harare International Airport to Robert Gabriel Mugabe international Airpot in honor of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.[1].It is located 15 km south of Harare's central business district and acts as the link between Harare and the outside world. It is the main gateway from the southern tip of the continent into the inner central part of Africa. The Harare International Airport is the major international aviation gateway to Zimbabwe. It is operated by Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and has a 4,725 metre long runway, one of the largest in Africa. Harare International Airport serves a major base of Zimbabwe's national airline Air Zimbabwe.[2]

Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport
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The Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport
Summary
Airport type Joint (Civil and Military)
Operator Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe
Serves Harare, Zimbabwe
Hub for Air Zimbabwe
Elevation AMSL 4,887 ft / 1,490 m
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
05/23 15,500 4,725 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Passengers 612,208

Contents

Background

The then Salisbury International Airport was built at a cost of about 400, 000 British Pounds. The airport terminal building was officially opened on 5 February 1957. The airport was opened five months after being first used by airline traffic. During the initial six months, Rhodesia’s Salisbury had the busiest airport in the Sub Saharan region due to the booming industry and agriculture which allowed regular inflow of people and outflow of goods. The airport had daily rates of about 12 arrivals and departures during this period.[3]

Destinations

The airport connects the capital with other local airports in Zimbabwe. These include the Victoria Falls Airport in Matabeleland, the Joshua Nkomo Airport, Prince Charles Airport, Buffalo Range Airport in Mutare, Masvingo Airport, Kariba Airport and Hwange Airport among others.[4] Besides all domestic destinations, Air Zimbabwe offers international flights to London, Johannesburg, Beijing, Dubai, Singapore and Dar es Salaam. Harare International Airport is also served by many other airlines like Air Botswana, Air Malawi, Air Zambezi, Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways, Kenya Airways, South African Airways and TAAG Angola Airlines.[2]

Services and Facilities

For its esteemed visitors, the airport provides the following facilities;

  1. 24hr operation;
  2. Re-fuelling;
  3. Aircraft parking and aerodrome docking;
  4. Catering;
  5. Aircraft, passenger and cargo handling services;
  6. Fire and rescue services;
  7. shuttle buses;
  8. Wi-fi;
  9. Long term car park, short term car park,
  10. Banking, post office, shops and restaurants.
  11. Buty free shops
  12. Smoking lounges
  13. Medical services and pharmacies
  14. Money changers( beureu de change)
  15. ICDL training.[4]

Decline

Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport was once a thriving airport with non-stop flights to the UK, Australia and several other countries. Due to political unrest and the economic crisis, there are now few international flights to Harare International Airport, although South African Airways, British Airways, Airlink and Air Zimbabwe still operate flights to major centres in nearby countries such as Johannesburg.[5] Emirates also flies direct from Dubai. The airport is a hub for Air Zimbabwe. A total of 18 international airlines stopped flying into the country after the economic decline set in almost a decade ago. They include Lufthansa, Qantas, Austrian Airlines, Swissair, Air India, Air France and TAP Air Portugal. Others are Egypt Air, Air Mauritius, Linhas Aereas de Mocambique, Air Namibia, Royal Swazi Airlines and Air Seychelles, Air Tanzania, Ghana Airways, Air Uganda and Air Cameroon. Only a few airlines from South African Airways, Britain, Zimbabwe, British, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia still use Harare International Airport. But Air France, Austrian Airlines, Egypt Air, Swiss Air, Bulgarian Airlines, Qantas, Emirates Airways, KLM and Lufthansa have indicated that they are now ready to fly into Zimbabwe.[5]

Drama and Controversies

The Harare International Airport has not recorded any major accidents in its backyard unlike other airports elsewhere. This has mainly attributed to relatively low traffic especially in the recent years. In 2014, the airport was in the media after a South African pilot stripped off his clothes before his plane was just about to take off. There was drama at the airport after a South African pilot Captain W Van Ginkel lost his temper and stripped down to his underpants in protest against security procedures. Zimbabwean media reported that at least 90 passengers aboard South African flight 025 who were due to travel to Johannesburg on that very morning were left stranded following the bizarre incident.[6]

References

  1. [ https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/11/harare-international-airport-renamed ], Harare International Airport renamed , 10 November 2017 , Retrieved:20 November 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 , About Harare International HRE Airport, "Make My Trip.com", retrieved:14 Oct 2014"
  3. , Rhodesia, "Flight Global Archive", retrieved:10 Oct 2014"
  4. 4.0 4.1 , About Us, "Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe", retrieved:14 Oct 2014"
  5. 5.0 5.1 , Harare International Airport (HRE), retrieved:14 Oct 2014"
  6. , Drama as angry SA pilot strips at Harare airport, "News 24", published:02 Jul 2014,retrieved:"