Mpanda — VICE-PRESIDENT, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal officially opened the newly refurbished Mpanda airport. The vice-president expressed his delight at the beauty of the newly rehabilitated airport.
"I was personally impressed by the beauty I had seen while I was flying over it today shortly before the plane landed." Dr Bilal made the remarks shortly after he opened Mpanda airport located at Kashaulili area about five kilometres east of Mpanda Town in Katavi region .
"Good infrastructure including airports help greatly to create economic opportunities by opening up production areas to external traders and investors hence promoting trade , tourism and generate employment opportunities, " echoed the vice-president .
The brief but colourful occasion was held at Mpanda airport. In attendance were Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, ministers and deputy ministers and residents from Mpanda District and beyond.
Dr Bilal further observed that the Western region including Rukwa, Kigoma and Katavi have important natural, historical and cultural tourist attractions which if aggressively promoted , will definitely offer great potential to lure visitors.
Geographically, Mpanda District in Katavi is home to an abundant number of wild animals such as eland, sable and roan antelopes. Earlier on, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport , Mr Omar Chambo, told the vice-president that the project cost over 30bn/- which was financed jointly by the government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The former contributed 1.7bn/- while the latter coughed up 28.3 bn/-. "The main feature of the project includes a wide runway which was later upgraded to tarmac and extended up to 1820 metres long," he added.
The vice-president was informed that all infrastructures were designed in accordance with standards and recommendations set by the International Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in order to meet the operational requirements to accommodate ATR 42 aircrafts.
According to Mr Chambo, the contractor, M/s DB Shapriya and Company Ltd based in Dar es Salaam, was contracted by the Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) for rehabilitation and upgrading of Mpanda airport in February 2010 while the project commenced on April 15, 2010 under the supervision of consultant firm , Crown Tech Consult Ltd based in Dar es Salaam .