The newly constructed terminal buildings and radar at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe will be handed over to Malawi Government on Friday.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Spokesperson, Godfrey Kapalamula told MANA that the newly constructed terminal buildings and radar equipment at KIA are part of the Japanese Government grant project worth K25 billion.
He said the main aim of the six-year-project was to expand and improve the passenger terminal building capacity of KIA and to install a new craft surveillance system to enhance safety of aircraft operations in the country.
“The expansion and rehabilitation of the airport will increase the overall capacity of the airport to accommodate passengers and ensure the safety of aircraft operation through the installation of more advanced aircraft surveillance system,” he said.
The spokesperson said the Japanese Government provided basic training to engineers after the installation of the equipment, there is an ongoing capacity building project for both air traffic controllers (ATCs) and engineers on how to operate and maintain the surveillance system.
In a separate interview, Airport Commandant, Donnie Chimtengo said KIA had no radar system since mid-1990s after the one that was installed at the inauguration time of the airport in 1983 broke down.
He added that since then, Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) have been providing the air navigation services manually by either using visual observation of aircraft or pilot position reports via radio communication only.
“All engineers who knew how to maintain the then radar equipment retired,” he said.
Senior Air Traffic Controller (ATC), Chikondi Chadza said the new radar equipment is capable of detecting and tracking aircrafts on a monitor from as far as 370 km away from KIA.
“All the necessary information such as flight number, aircraft type, speed, direction and altitude are displayed on monitor,” she said.
She added that the information makes it possible for them to provide more accurate information not only to aircraft landing or departing from KIA but also to all the aircraft flying over Malawi.
The routine training sessions offered by JICA experts will continue to ensure that officer performances of duties are stable and reliable.
Kamuzu International Airport is the largest airport in Malawi playing an important role in transport network of the landlocked country.
Written by Daniel Namwini – MANA