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Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport

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 temporarily.

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.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe 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.



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