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The efficiency of passenger flow at Zimbabwe’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is set to improve significantly thanks to a new terminal building currently under construction.

According to a statement from the presidency, refurbishment of the current terminal will begin once the new facility is completed, after which the two facilities will be merged. When complete, the airport will handle six million passengers annually.

The project will cost $153 million and is expected to be completed by 2023.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa toured the facility on Wednesday and expressed his satisfaction with the quality of work and the progress so far.

“As time has passed, we realized we needed something better, that has international appeal and facilities that you get elsewhere should also be available here,” Mnangagwa said.

“We are happy that this airport, after completion, will match any other airport in the world in terms of facilities and the design to attract airlines coming here, as well as our own people coming here to watch as the planes arrive and have a good time.”

Zimbabwe’s aviation industry has been on the up in recent months after a turbulent period exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national carrier Air Zimbabwe resumed domestic and regional flights in June having previously suspended all flights for most of 2020 due to operational challenges and restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, Qatar Airways, one of the world’s leading airlines, made its inaugural flight to Zimbabwe touching down in Harare with the state-owned Gulf carrier operating three weekly scheduled flights to more than 140 destinations across its network.

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