Aviation industry flourishes as Samia embraces economic diplomacy

IN the last two years, the country’s aviation has made a step forward in terms of growth, hence positively impacting on other economic sectors, mainly tourism and trade.

The latest development was announcement by the Air France that it was well on course to start direct trips three times a week   between Tanzania and the country’s cities of Paris and Marseille.

That was also in the wake of Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa, which links Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) and Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) also announcing that it will increase flights to land at Mwanza Airport to serve passengers and cargoes operations.

The new developments in the aviation sector are attributed to economic diplomacy embraced by President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan by continuing to strengthen Tanzania’s relationship with other countries in the world.

The Director General of the Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA), Mr  Mussa Mbura, said during an Investment and Trade Conference between Tanzania and the European Union (EU) Countries in Dar es Salaam recently  that the coming of Air France is now a reality after signing of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between France and Tanzania.

“Tanzania continues to strengthen relations with other countries. The Air France will start direct flights on May 26, this year. It will initially be conducting three flights a week,” said Mr Mbura.

According to him, TAA is well organised and ready to handle the flights by the Air France and other prospective airlines planning to have flights to Tanzania.

“We have enabling infrastructure and services providing companies with globally acceptable standards in the aviation industry to serve the planes coming into the country,” he insisted.

On his part, the acting Director General of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), Mr  Daniel Malanga, said after signing of  the BASA that the next step will be  registering the signed agreement in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and asked the parties to use the new agreement, which is more beneficial to all parties than the previous one signed in 1978 which is outdated.

Mr Malanga elaborated that other areas of interest included signed agreement to open Tanzania’s airspace to flights between the cities of Paris and Marseille for Tanzanian airlines.

In June last year, Tanzania signed a similar agreement with the United States of America. This bilateral agreement establishes a modern civil aviation relationship with Tanzania consistent with U.S Open Skies international aviation policy and with commitments to make high standards of aviation safety and security

To further improve the aviation sector, Minister for Works and  Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said the construction of Msalato International Airport in Dodoma capital city which involves two phases is progressing well.

The first phase is the construction of the runway stretching 3.6 kilometres, which is now 15 per cent complete.

The second phase comprises building the terminal buildings — passenger building, the flight control tower, offices, the fire fight department building and other infrastructures. The contractor for this phase is in the mobilisation stage.

The runway area construction costs stand at 164bn/-, while costs of the construction of terminal buildings stand at 194.4bn/-.

Prof Mbarawa noted that initially it was planned that the project be completed in April 2025 but after the President’s directives the project is expected to be completed in November or December 2024.

The government has also contracted the French construction group, Bouygues Bâtiment International (BBI) to renovate Terminal II of the Julius Nyerere international Airport (JNIA), which was built in the 1981.

The Deputy Minister for Works and Transport, Mr Atupele Mwakibete, last year revealed that the government was planning to build another airport in the Kagera Region. According to him, evaluation for the compensation was done some years ago and the next stage was to seek funds to finance the project.

“The place where the new airport is set to be constructed has been identified already. Now, we are looking for 9bn/- to pay compensation to the people for other steps to follow,” he said.

Air Tanzania Company limited (ATCL) announced that it expects delivery of its first dedicated freighter aircraft by the end of next month.

The national flag carriers will as well receive another four more passenger aircrafts before the end of the year, according to ATCL Managing Director engineer Ladislaus Matindi.

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