Kilimanjaro to be transformed into East Africa’s best

An ambitious project to renovate, expand and modernise the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) has started at the country’s second busiest terminal and is expected to be completed in 23 months’ time.

The BAM International of Netherlands will be executing the project involving rehabilitation and extension of the airport’s taxiways, runaways and aprons as well as renovating and extending the terminal buildings.

The Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO) Managing Director, Mr Bakari Murusuri, inked the agreement between the airport’s management and BAM International officials Mr Harko Kloeze, East and Central Africa’s Managing Director, and Mr Eric van Zuthem, the Area Manager for Tanzania.

BAM International, which is a subsidiary of Royal BAM Group, one of Europe’s largest contracting companies, active in construction, property and civil engineering, will be revamping the airport, the country’s major northern tourism circuit’s gateway, to the tune of €37 million, equivalent to 72bn/-.

Built in 1971, KIA, which is situated between Moshi and Arusha, has been handling an average of 900,000 passengers a year with the figure expected to reach 1.2 million travellers by the end of this year.

KADCO Director of Operations and Technical Services, Mr Christopher Mukoma, explained that the airport’s upgrading will include the expansion of the terminal buildings, increasing the length and width of taxiways and runaways, expanding aircraft aprons as well as establishing other essential services at the terminal.

“The scope of work comprises the refurbishment of the terminal building, the construction of a new parallel taxiway, the extension of the existing apron and taxiways, including repairs on the runway, as well as the drainage and sewage works,” said Engineer Mukoma.

Apparently, BAM will also install new airfield ground lighting and floodlights along the aprons, resurface the runaways, and create continuous loop linking runways and taxiways to eliminate delays in landing and take-off.

KIA is experiencing an annual increase of 25 per cent in passenger traffic and this year, the management expects to handle nearly 1.2 million flying customers.

“After winning the Routes’ ‘Best Airport in Africa 2014’ Award, we are now working hard not only to maintain this status, but also to improve our services in order to become the world’s best airport and terminal of choice in the East African Region,” the senior KADCO official pledged.

Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport (JKIA), the country’s largest terminal, handles an average of 1.5 million passengers a year, but with KIA recording nearly 25 per cent increase in annual traffic, coupled by the fact that the terminal is now undergoing massive upgrading and expansion, Kilimanjaro is getting itself in position to snatch Dar es Salaam’s passenger flow.

But KIA, which opened for business in 1972, and designed to handle just 200,000 passengers, now handles about a million.

The massive expansion, rehabilitation and upgrading project, which have just kicked off there, will transform the airport into a force to reckon with, especially after the recent development in which Tanzanian vehicles are being barred from accessing Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), located some 300 kilometres from KIA.

The Netherlands’ Government is assisting in KIA expansion programme by channelling in 37 million Euros needed for the terminal’s rehabilitation.

The Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), on the other hand, has remained loyal all these years by continuing to use the airport.

KIA currently handles a total of 12 scheduled airlines in addition to many other unscheduled charter planes and other flying crafts but before the end of this year, it is expected that it will be a landing ground to nearly 20 airlines.
Source: Daily News, reported by Marc Nkwame, from Arusha, Tanzania
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