Monday, August 19, 2013

■ TANZANIA: TAA's big dreams for Kajunguti airport stall over its price tag as Kenya, Uganda push ahead with their own upgrades.

Tanzanian Airport AuthorityThe Tanzanian Airports Authority says it requires USD20billion to develop and construct Kajunguti International Airport, located in the north eastern province of Kagera, as a means of boosting the region's profile in the great Lakes region. Kagera forms part of Tanzania's border with Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, and lies across Lake Victoria from Kenya.

According to TAA director, Suleiman Suleiman, Dodoma has thus far failed to secure adequate funding for the project, intended as a replacement for the current Bukoba Airport whose capacity is limited to light aircraft. 
If it happens that the government receives private funding for the project, and there is interest from several companies, then we will be able to build the airport in time,” Mr Suleiman said. “So far, the country has already secured 15,000 hectares of land and is in the process of compensating the people who will be affected by the construction, to the tune of $7 million,” he said.
Mr Suleiman added that as part of Tanzania's plan to increase the number of airports in the country, so more airlines would be courted to service them. Thus far, Emirates (EK) is said to have been approached regarding a service to the newly upgraded Songwe Airport in Mbeya. fastjet (FN) too has slated the airport for service in the coming weeks.

An international airport for Kagera Province would boost trade, mining, fishing and tourism among East African Community member states with fellow member Kenya, pushing ahead with its own plans to develop a regional hub close by in Nyeri, 580km east of the proposed Kajunguti International Airport.

The Governor of Kenya's Central Province, Mr Nderitu Gachagua, recently announced plans for a KES1.5billion (USD17.5million) upgrade for Nyeri airstrip located in Nyeri District, Central Province, in the Kenyan Central Highlands. In his words, Mr Gachagua said the facility would open up the international market for coffee and tea farmers in the county. Nyeri saw its runway extended to 1'300m and its apron enlarged as part of a KES180million upgrade in 2011.

Not to be outdone, across Lake Victoria, as part of its own USD400million aeronautical infrastructure upgrade programme, Uganda has signed a USD10million contract with the Government of South Korea in which the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) will aide in the establishment of: a computerized maintenance management of facilities and systems at Entebbe International Airport, as well as an air traffic management system. It will also oversee the enhancement of training and research in civil aviation and a review of the communications navigation and surveillance master plan and airspace redesign for Entebbe Information Region.

South Korea will also train Ugandans in specialized aviation courses.

The ambitious project will see the strengthening and widening of Entebbe's main runway 17/35 and its associated taxiways as well as redesigning and re-equipping of the control tower to support future aviation technologies.