10 December 2012

Tanzania: Increased Flights Lead to Commotion At Airports

Photo: Capital FM/File
Fastjet: Low cost Tanzania airline.

AIRPORTS passenger terminals, across the country, have been outpaced by increased number of passengers creating commotion during departures and arrivals.

The buildings were mostly constructed before 1990s and are of no match with current demand, especially after the arrival of low cost carriers in the market. The most affected are Julius Nyerere International Airport, Kilimanjaro International and Mwanza, especially in the morning as the four aircraft are departing at the same time in the morning.

Precision Air Ground Handling officer said that its chaos is in the morning as there are four departures at 06:00am --two each to Mwanza and KIA -- leaving about 400 passengers to share merely two gates. "I don't understand why they let four airplanes to depart at the same time without considering terminal capacity," said the officer, who did not want to be named.

She added: "It is not bad to depart at the same time but that must be supported by the infrastructure." Precision Air Group Managing Director and CEO Mr Alfonse Kioko raised concern over the issue saying at least the authority could separate the departures due to the lack of capacity.

"There is no need to slot all departures at the same time," Mr Kioko told Minister for Transport Dr Harrison Mwakyembe during the launching of the Precision Air's ATR 42-600. However, Dr Mwakyembe said expansion of the terminal buildings have started in KIA and Mwanza Airport to cater for the growing demand due to expansion of aviation sector.

"This is an operational issue. It will be sorted out," Dr Mwakyembe told the 'Daily News' arguing that "in Europe several departures are carried at the same time and there were no complaints." But aviation stakeholders reminded the minister that he forgot that first world airports infrastructure are supporting such movement while the country's airports are not.

In the last fiscal year 12 new airline firms were licensed to operate domestic and foreign routes. By the end June next year 58 airline companies are expected to be authorized to provide air services, an increase of 12 per cent.

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