Dodoma — Dodoma Airport has opened a 24-hour domestic and international flights operation, just months after embarking on a 12 billion/- renovation plan - putting the capital into new hotspot for the aviation industry.
Works, Transport and Communication Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa announced yesterday shortly after inspecting installation of airfield ground lighting (AGL), commissioned by the Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) and implemented through a Chinese firm - Shanghai Chiko Solar Technology Company Limited. "Effective from now, Dodoma Airport can accommodate flight operations 24/7.
The plan is to ensure that it meets international standards and save as immediate national airport in the country's capital," he said. Ten flights, including domestic and international, arrive and depart at the airport daily, thanks to the completion of the expansion plan that included construction of a 2.5km runway.
The installation exercise of nearly 150 airfield ground lights took 14 days, according to TAA's AGL Installation Supervisor, Mr Samwel Mruma. It involved installation of runway lights, wind sock, taxiway lights and turn-up lights - the modern solar aviation lighting technology -making Dodoma Airport the first in East Africa to apply the latest technology.
Minister Mbarawa said that the technology allows minimum maintenance and has the highest lifespan of 12 years and can be on up to 100,000 hours.
This is ten times the lifespan of lights installed at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam, which last for 10,000 hours.
The lights are radio-frequency controlled, meaning cannot be used anywhere without a remote control. Prof Mbarawa warned the public surrounding the un-fenced airport not to tamper with the new gadgets, saying they can only be used as toys when removed from location.
"We should not be the first to sabotage our economy. It's high time that we all protect this new facility for our own good," he said. Dodoma Airport Manager, Mr Julius Mlungwana and Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, Dr Leonard Chamuriho, announced that the authority was well organised to protect the area.
Mr Mlungwana said the airport had increased ten more security personnel, but the police were also considering beefing up daily patrols and a number of security officers at the area.