The Airports Company of Zimbabwe has announced new protocols to ensure the safety of passengers and its staff at the Victoria Falls International Airport, including allowing only passengers inside the terminal building.

On Friday, Fastjet Airline notified airport authorities of an email that it received from one John Doe claiming a credible bomb/firearm threat to Zimbabwean airports.

Following the warning, President Mnangagwa was forced to cancel a trip to Victoria Falls, where he was scheduled to address a business conference.

A 26-year-old South African national, Cuan Reed Govender from Durban has since been arrested and fined $300 after he was found in possession of some bullets at the Robert Mugabe International Airport on the day the email from John Doe referring to bombs.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority, airport personnel detected bullets in Govender’s luggage, prompting an investigation, which is now the focus of state security agents.

In a statement to stakeholders, Victoria Falls Airport’s acting airport manager Vupenyu Shava, said they had decided to implement heightened security measures to mitigate potential risks and to secure the facility.

“In response to a bomb and firearm threat that was received on 1 March 2024, the Airports Company of Zimbabwe Private Limited has deemed it necessary to take immediate action to ensure the safety and security of both passengers and airport personnel. Consequently, the company has decided to implement heightened security measures to level three (3), which is significantly higher than the normal baseline level,” he said.

“These additional measures have been put in place to mitigate any potential risks to create a secure environment within the airport premises.”

Under the new measures, only travelling passengers and airport staff are allowed into the terminal building and there will be strict access control at the Main Entrance, with all staff required to display passes at all times.

Shava said the front drop-off and pick-up zone of the International Terminal Building would also be temporarily sealed off.

He said there will be secondary screening of passengers at the Boarding Gate, a physical search of all checked baggage and increased police presence in the Terminal Building.

“All meeters and greeters wait for their guests outside the terminal building and searches will be done on all departing passengers,” he said.

On baggage, Shava said no unaccompanied and mishandled baggage will be allowed while passenger luggage should be shrink-wrapped after physical searches have been carried out.

“The Level three (3) heightened Security measures shall remain in force until a Security Risk Assessment and an evaluation are done,” he said.