By JOHN SAKALA
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has handed over the Kasompe Airstrip to Chingola Municipal Council.
Speaking during the handover of the aerodrome yesterday in Chingola, Ministry of Transport and Communications Principal Aviation Officer Priscilla Lombanya said the handover of aerodromes to local authorities will bring about ownership.
Ms Lombanya said most of the aerodromes have been encroached by illegal land allocation, hence the need to hand them over to the custodians of the land in each district.
She said for the CAA to operate the aerodromes (a place where aircraft land and take off) it was like being the prosecutor and the judge or the operator and the regulator.
“CAA as the regulator wants to remain with one role of regulating these aerodromes for compliances purposes. We want to focus on policy and not implementation. This is a very viable business venture for the local authority will partner with the business community to run them. The charges for landing aircraft will go to the local authority.
“Local authorities have the right information about the investment potential of each district and with innovative local authorities, business boom is expected and bring change to the council. This means that the local authorities taking over aerodromes must begin to budget for the running of the aerodromes,” she said.
Ms Lombanya said the International Airports will be operated by the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited.
And an Engineer at CAA Nathan Kaluba said with the takeover of aerodromes by local authority, the chances having more people using air transport will increase.
Eng Kaluba said Zambia is a signatory to international Civil Aviation, hence the need for the local authority to train qualified personnel to run the aerodromes.
He called for collaboration between the local authorities and the CAA.
Meanwhile, CAA Fire Department Officer Nelson Mwankabala said there is need to train fire fighters that will be stationed at the aerodromes.
In receiving the Kasompe aerodrome on behalf of Chingola Municipal Council, Chingola Mayor Titus Tembo said Chingola targets to be a city by 2020 and the aerodrome was a plus to the agenda.
Mr Tembo said the challenge with Kasompe aerodrome has been ownership but described the takeover as greater good for the Chingola community and Council.
He said Chingola Council has been a Municipality for the past 72 years which is from 1947. The Mayor said the handover of the Kasompe aerodrome shows that Decentralization is a reality.
Chingola Councillors and Chingola District Commissioner Mary Chibesa were all present during the presentation at the civic centre and the subsequent handover of the aerodrome.