Zambia confident of China-funded airport will make it “African aviation hub”

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Zambia last week commissioned the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola, the country’s second largest city and the commercial hub of its central copper producing region.

The airport’s $400m construction cost was financed with a government-to-government loan from China’s Export-Import Bank, and it was designed and built by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic).

The opening ceremony was performed by Edgar Lungu, president of Zambia.

“Today marks a key milestone in the transportation sector and the aviation subsector, in particular, as we continue on our journey to repositioning Zambia as a major aviation hub in Africa,” he said.

He added: “Travellers to Ndola can now experience the world-class look and feel here at the new Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport. This airport is in close proximity with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga Province and will improve business between the two countries.”

The facility, one of four international airports in the country, will take over from the existing Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe airport, named after a former vice president of Zambia.

He added that 800 local jobs were created during the work, and that more than 20 local subcontractors earned $40m in fees. As well as the airport, the development has a business complex, a 50-room hotel, a fire and rescue station, cargo terminal and maintenance hangar.

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