A new state-of-the-art terminal at Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere International Airport was opened last week. It will handle international flights and is part of the country’s bid to position itself as a regional aviation hub.
President John Magufuli officiated at the opening of the $282 million facility, which is expected to serve up to six million passengers per year.
The president is quoted as saying that the construction of the terminal had been done using local funding.
He urged the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication and the Tanzania National Roads Agency to ensure that the new terminal reflected well maintained because it was the country’s image for foreign visitors using the airport.
The airport’s Terminal I has an annual capacity of 500,000 passengers while Terminal II has a 1.5 million-passenger capacity. At full capacity, the three terminals will make Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) one of the busiest hubs in Africa.
According to Tanzania’s Transport Minister Isaack Kamwelwe, the new terminal will also allow increased freight volumes, signalling an increase in revenue collection.
JNIA is the largest of Tanzania’s three international airports. The others are Kilimanjaro International Airport in the north and Zanzibar International Airport.
A modernisation programme for at least three more airports—Dodoma, Songwe and Chato—is being implemented as part of a plan to revamp the country’s aviation sector.
Last week’s inauguration of Terminal III at JNIA came two weeks after the relaunch of long-haul flights to Mumbai, India by the national carrier Air Tanzania.
The Mumbai route heralded the airline’s foray into the Asian market. Other planned routes are Bangkok, Thailand, and the Chinese city of Guangzhou.
Air Tanzania spokesperson Josephat Kagirwa told The EastAfrican they are planning flights to London and Lagos in Nigeria and Accra,Ghana.
The airline currently operates 10 domestic routes, with regular flights to Harare (Zimbabwe), Bujumbura (Burundi), Entebbe (Uganda), Moroni (Comoro Islands) and Johannesburg (South Africa).
Its current fleet comprises a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner jet, two Airbus A200-300s, three Bombardier Q400s, one Fokker50, and one Fokker28.
Air Tanzania has ramped up competition for other East African carriers like Kenya Airways and RwandAir, with Uganda Airlines taking to the skies later this month.
The struggling Kenya Airways is set to be nationalised by parliamentary order as part of a wider revival strategy.