Lilongwe — As part of the ongoing expansion and rehabilitation works at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) terminal building, the airport is set to have a new surveillance equipment since the previous one broke down in 2000.
The high cost of the surveillance equipment has made it difficult for it to be replaced as it was last quoted to be at K 750 million in 2009.
Chief Consultant for Japanese Marubeni Protechs, Takao Yamaguchi, main contractors behind the rehabilitation works said they intend to put in place secondary surveillance radar equipment and automatic dependence surveillance broadcast mode equipment.
"It was not so much of a problem in terms of any risks. The equipment which we would provide under this project would enable aircrafts to be seen by the controller and other aircrafts in the vicinity which will enhance separation and safety," he said.
On Monday, the contractors took members of the media on tour of the site to provide an update on the progress that has been made so far on the project which is being financed by Governments of Japan and Malawi through Airport Development Limited (ADL) and Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).
As part of the expansion phase of the project a new arrival wing, new departure wing and a new domestic terminal are being constructed while the rehabilitation phase will see the expansion and rehabilitation of the passenger terminal building.
"We intend to install X-ray scanner for checked and carry-on baggage, metal detector gate, portable metal detector, aerial work platform plus CCTV system which will also enhance the security of the terminal," he said.
Yamaguchi said at the moment the capacity of the terminal is very small to accommodate passengers from three aircrafts which arrive at the same time from South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia which has resulted in the space being too congested.
Chief Executive Officer for ADL, Rodrick Chattaika said with the kind of rehabilitation work being done it would mean doubling the available space and increasing the capacity to handle more aircrafts at KIA.
"This entails that we would now meet international standards in terms of safety and security while at the same time increasing the space that we can handle more passengers. The current space has limitations on the number of aircrafts it could handle and number of passengers.
"The arrival hall would be expanded, it would have more parking car cells, the immigration counters would be more than the current ones, and the check-in counters would be pushed backwards therefore increasing in number as well. The congestion will be less and the movement of the passengers will be quick," he narrated.
KIA was constructed 35 years ago and as such the building facilities at the airport have severely deteriorated and damaged, requiring major rehabilitation work.
In addition to this problem, due to the increasing number of passengers and the concentration of air traffic volume, the check-in counter, immigration, baggage claim area and other areas are extremely congested during peak times.
The ground breaking of the project was done on 10 February in 2017 and the rehabilitation and expansion works are expected to be through in 2019 when the facility will be handed over back to the government.