Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
TOPPICK Investments, which has invested US$2,5 million in Beitbridge, has approached the Government for authorisation to spruce up the district airstrip and introduce commercial flights from the border town, Victoria Falls and Harare.
The company’s director, Mrs Saliwe Marema, said the initiative was part of their bigger plan to transform Beitbridge town and contribute to the revival of the country’s tourism sector.
The company has investment interests in accommodation, petroleum, integrated farming and mining.
Mrs Marema said their plan was to make use of the existing airstrip on the east of Beitbridge town, which is being used for occasional light aircraft by the Government.
“We have since lodged our application with the relevant Government departments. Our plan is to have a hanger and rehabilitate the current airstrip in the town,” she said.
“Beitbridge is developing rapidly as a town, hence we want to invest in this critical service and contribute to Zimbabwe’s tourism development.”
Mrs Marema said they already owned two private jets with a carrying capacity of 16 people and one helicopter they intend to use to service the Beitbridge to Victoria Falls, and Beitbridge to Harare routes.
The business has mobilised enough capital to set up a hangar and for the requisite standard civil works at the airstrip, she said.
Mrs Marema said they were looking at investing more on infrastructure development in the border town. The development comes a few months after the Government said it had started working on the processes leading to the construction of a state-of-the art airport in Beitbridge.
A team from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe has toured the site, Makhavhane area, 20km north of the border town and is said to be now conducting relevant studies on the project.
It is proposed that the new airport will be constructed under the Build Operate and Transfer concept.
Our Beitbridge Bureau understands that the new airport will serve as a dry port for international trade and that 20 villagers could be displaced in the process and relocated to new homes in line with Government policy.