Commissioned in 1956 and officially opened on 5 February
1957, Salisbury Airport cost £924'000 to build. According to the 1950 report of
the Director of Civil Aviation, the city's original aerodrome, Belvedere
Airport, had proved to be inadequate and had to be abandoned.
A site therefore had to be found for the construction of a
new airport that would be safer and more suitable for commercial activities.
The Southern Rhodesia government had appointed a Southern
Rhodesia Aerodrome Board as early as January 1947, whose task was to advise the
government on the selection, acquisition, construction and maintenance of
government aerodromes and landing grounds in Southern Rhodesia.
Later the same year, an Airfield Construction Unit was formed
to undertake an extensive search for a suitable site for a national airport.
In 1949 the government purchased Kentucky and Adair farms
east of Salisbury (2'700 acres at a cost of £54'000) for the construction of
the new airport.
Also in 1949 the Minister of Mines and Transport set up an
Airport Panel to co-ordinate the construction of the airport. The Panel
comprised representatives of the interested government departments, the
Municipality of Salisbury and Rhodesia Railways.
In 1951 the government announced that the airport would be
developed as a joint user aerodrome for both civil aviation and the Southern
Rhodesian Air Force (SRAF). Construction of the airport began soon afterwards
and by September 1951, an 8'400 ft runway had been completed, enabling the
first aircraft, an SRAF Anson, to land at the new airport.
Originally, it was anticipated that the airport would be
completed by 1954. It was, however, not completed until two years later because
the government ran out of funds in October 1952 and had to suspend the project
The new Salisbury Airport was finally commissioned on 1 July
1956. The cost of constructing the airport was £924'000.After Independence in
1980 Salisbury Airport was renamed Harare Airport.
Harare International Airport is located 15kilometres south of
Harare City, the capital of Zimbabwe. It is the main gateway into Zimbabwe and
alternate entry point into Central and Southern Africa. It boasts of a terminal
building which is 12 years old. Taxiway rehabilitation has been completed
whilst works on the runway are in progress. The Runway is 4725 meters long and
46 meters wide.