Ground handlers get two months to vacate new Zanzibar airport terminal

Friday September 16 2022
Zanzibar's Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.

Zanzibar's Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. PHOTO | NMG


Ground handlers at Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport have until November to vacate the newly constructed terminal 3 building to give way to a new operator, Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata).

The Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) has given the Dubai-based company exclusive access to the new terminal, constructed at the cost of $120 million.

But, the directive runs counter to the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority decision of 2022 prohibiting monopoly, price caps, favouritism or segregation of terminals.

ZAA, in a letter issued and signed by director-general Seif Juma, says it has entered a management agreement with three companies in its quest to improve service delivery.

The firms are Dnata Zanzibar Aviation Services Limited, Emirate Leisure Retail, and Segap.

“As from December 1, 2022, unless informed otherwise by the authority, all services from terminal 3 shall be conducted under the auspices of Dnata for provision of ground handling and the Marhaba lounge services,” reads the letter.


Terminal stores

Emirates Leisure Retail will provide food and beverage services, stores and duty-free shops, while Segap will provide technical support to ZAA management and airport operations.

The authority has advised airlines to start negotiations with Dnata to avoid inconveniences.

All 15 international airlines that fly into Abeid Amani Karume airport are currently serviced at the new terminal.

The changes, which take effect in December, will restrict ZAT and Transworld ground handlers to terminal 2, a situation likely to cost them clients who prefer access to the modern terminal.

Also read: Zanzibar records increased tourist arrivals

It is unclear whether the regulator TCCA gave the nod for the changes. Efforts to reach the aviation regulator for comment have been futile as officials answered neither phones nor messages.

The Dnata contract with Zanzibar, signed in November 2021, also allows Emirates’ subsidiaries –Emirates Leisure Retail and MMI–  to operate all 13 stores and two lounges at the new terminal.