The multi-million-pula expansion project of the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) will be completed this month (March) after works were suspended for three years.
The Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Nonofo Molefhi said a new company, Stefanutti Stocks Botswana, was engaged to complete the P550million expansion project following failure by Chinese construction company, Sinohydro to do so.
A junior projects estimator at Stefanutti Stocks, Totego Mongweemang, confirmed that the company began its repair works at the airport in July last year and that it will complete in March this year.
“We had set ourselves an eight-month period for us to complete this project. We are mostly doing the maintenance work, repairs, reinstallations and replacements,” he said.
The cost of the repair and maintenance works on the airport, according to Mongweemang, is P142 million. This is an additional cost to the initial P527 million which was paid out to Synohydro.
Synohydro had been contracted to build a state-of-the-art terminal and expand the airport’s runway in compliance with International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards.
Government’s initial plan the was for the airport to accommodate more travellers, especially during the World Cup in 2010.
Following a fast-track tender system, Sinohydro was given from June 10, 2008 to May 11, 2010 to complete the expansion.
The tender, however, was terminated in July 2011 as there were major faults identified in the project and failure to meet the targeted deadline despite several extensions. It is understood that by the time the contract was terminated, about 90 percent of the work was complete.
There was another additional P200 million that was incurred due to poor workmanship of the project, resulting in the rooftop on the western side of the terminal being blown off, much to the shock of airport visitors.
IATA, the trade association for the world’s airlines that represents about 240 airlines or 84 per cent of total air traffic across the globe, once described the SSKIA as a vanity project because of its scale and opulence compared with the size and nature of the market it seeks to serve.