Kilimanjaro International Airport is all set for a $39.7 million facelift starting June.
In the one-year project to be funded the Tanzanian and Dutch governments, runways, apron, taxiways and the passenger lounge will all be modernised.
“The idea behind the scheme is to give KIA a different outlook,” said Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (Kadco) managing director Bakari Murusuri.
For this task, BAM International from Netherlands was chosen in mid-March. The firm will instal 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 takeoff.
KIA was inaugurated in 1972 and was expected to handle just 200,000 passengers a year but with increased traffic, security concerns and growing competition, it has become necessary to benchmarking the facility with others of its calibre. This year alone, it is expected to handle 1.2 million customers.
Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Lazaro Nyalandu termed the revamping of KIA as opportune especially since it is coming at a time when the country wants to elevate the airfield as the gateway to the tourist attractions Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park.
Already, Kadco has developed a comprehensive plan that will see estates surrounding the airport, transformed into a state-of-the art, modern duty free shopping city.
According to the master plan, the location was to become a “city” at the centre of Moshi and Arusha, where prospective investors were to establish shopping centres, high class tourist hotels, duty free ports, export processing zone, educational institutions, custom bonded warehouses, curio shops, golf courses and a large game ranch.