4 February 2014

Tanzania to Build Airport Near Serengeti

Dar es Salaam — A United States based billionaire conservationist has partnered with the government of Tanzania to construct a modern airport near Serengeti National Park.

Mr. Paul Jones, who has heavily invested in tourism and conservation in Tanzania has agreed to finance the construction of the airport which will serve to ease movement of tourists intended to tour the national park.

About Tsh50 billion ($30.8 million) has been set aside for the construction of the airport which would also help cut the time tourists spend to traveling from the nearest airport in Arusha to the national park and back to Arusha for Departure.

The airport was designed to ease the movement of tourists, who intended to tour the world famous wild animal migration, thus adding the number of both local and international tourists, said the Constituency's Member of Parliament.

According to Serengeti Constituency's Member of Parliament, Dr. Kebwe S. Kebwe there was more to gain than lose in erecting an airport closer to the national park.

Dr. Kebwe said the government of Tanzania in collaboration with other partners is going for a public-private partnership in implementing the construction of the airport.

"We are planning to start construction of the airport this year in a town called Mugumu which is located 20-30 km from Serengeti National Park so as to ease the movement of tourists," Dr. Kebwe said.

"The airport is going to be middle sized so that flights with the capacity of up to 60 passengers will be able to use it," he added.

He noted that the construction of the airport was aimed at exploiting the opportunity of both local and international tourists, who do not find road transport conducive for them due to poor infrastructure leading to the park.

"The availability of this airport will enable tourist from different parts of the world to land directly in Mugumu airport which will be only minutes away from wildlife in the park," he said.

Almost a year has passed since the Serengeti district council allocated land in Uwanja wa Ndege ward in the area of Mugumu town for the construction of the airport.

The Director General of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Fadhili Manongi refused to comment, saying he is was not aware of the plan.

Late last year it was reported in the local media that Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) sent its experts to verify the plot where they met Serengeti District officials and gave the project the green light for the construction of the airport.

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