The President of Mozambique, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, laid the first stone in the construction of Chongoene International Airport in the province of Gaza, Mozambique, on Friday (October 5).
The infrastructure will make this part of the country accessible in regards of air transport for the first time.
The project will occupy an area of 1.4 million square metres, and comprise a passenger terminal, control towers, several runways, parking platform, maneuvering area, navigation facilities, as well as an access road to the airport.
The airport will be situated just outside of the capital, Xai-Xai, boasting a number of activities in the area for tourists to enjoy, such as beaches, scuba diving, snorkeling, walks and hikes, kitesurfing, kayaking, swimming and fishing, to name a few.
At least 600 national citizens, mostly youth, will be employed directly during the construction and more than 800 indirectly, in addition to direct employment in the operational phase.
Nyusi believes that the installation of the airport will promote the development of the local and regional economy, especially with regards to tourism, commerce and industrial parks, improving the investment conditions of the province, and the movement of people and goods.
According to the Government of Mozambique, Nyusi said: "It is in these terms that we have taken the decision to establish an airport here in Gaza, with the certainty that it will be decisive in increasing the speed of development of the province and of ours the country as a whole".
According to Nyusi, the location of the airport was not a random decision, but rather a strategic one, in order to make the infrastructure more viable, explaining that the region where the infrastructure is to be deployed allows last connections to various other places of socio-economic interest, including tourist sites of the province, the country and Southern Africa in general.
"To date, Gaza is the only province in the country that has no airport. And we are for the sustainable and balanced development of Mozambique and it is a way of doing the decentralisation," said Nyusi.
Mark and Zelda Hailstone, Owners of Sera Lodge in Chidenguele village, just north of the province’s capital, Xai-Xai, say: “We are near the airport, and we are very excited about the development.”
According to the Hailstones, the new airport is bound to increase tourism to the area in terms of arrivals from other countries, as well as make it easier for both those flying into Cape Town and Capetonians alike to fly up to the region, especially in the winter months. “We hope there will be some hiring of 4x4s for guests wanting to drive on their own, to further explore our area.”