TANZANIA is now being ranked high in the aviation industry as improved infrastructure is starting to bear fruits, with decreased costs and flight duration among foreign and local travellers.
As the Fifth Phase Government enters its fifth and final year of its first term in office, stakeholders have cited remarkable achievements in the sector, including simplifying entry to and exit from the country for tourists.
In aviation, improved infrastructure in terms of better international airports (now four) with more modern lounges, immigration counters, runways and installation of the state-of-the-art radar systems, the airports have since attracted more big aviation companies in the country for non-stop flights.
Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) has been rehabilitated and extended.
Some of Tanzanian beneficiaries of the improved infrastructure, including those going to Middle East annually for religious commitments expressed gratitude to the government.
They requested it to sustain the pace as it has, and still is reducing costs of transport and hence living costs.
Reverend Duncan Ludovick gave testimony that as days unfold, travel costs to and from Israel are getting cheaper with reduced flight durations as well because they board directly from Kilimanjaro to the Holy Land and back without having to stop at other countries' airports first.
Aviation transport stakeholders have expressed their satisfaction and appreciations.
One of them is Mr Samson Keshama from Excellent Guides, who said that currently, travel duration from KIA to Israel is four and a half hours down from the earlier nine.
Mr Samson says following the government's move, Excellent Guide now has devised a system linking Tanzanians who go to Israel for religious functions, including those going for pilgrimage in special places.
Travel and general costs have decreased substantially.
A religious leader from Dare es Salaam, Mr Arnold Lema, attributed the efficiency observed to the government's efforts in capacity building on its institutions and organisations in performance improvements.
He named some of them that have shown high productivity as Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB ) that he said has displayed great potential and success in promoting tourism in Tanzania in collaboration with various stakeholders.
Other travellers who spoke on the issue were Mr Danford Mwankiraa and Mr Deus Kurwa, who advised that more efforts should be put on Tanzanian embassy offices that should promote tourist attractions in the country, through cultural tourism that is the new avenue for making money as it attracts more tourists.
Acting Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO) Managing Director, Engineer Christopher Mukoma, said that the scope of work at the airport comprised renovation of the terminal building, construction of a new parallel taxiway and extension of the existing apron and taxiways.
The work also included repairs on the runway, the drainage and sewage works and installation of new airfield ground lighting and floodlights along the apron. The project was completed in 2018.
KIA is the second largest airport after Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam.
Others are Mwanza and Songwe international airports.
KIA's terminal facilities have been designed to save time for the passengers moving from arrival halls and departure lounges to parking areas and vice-versa.
The terminal building features check-in areas located in a spacious hall with well-marked check-in desks.
The departure halls at the terminal feature restaurants, coffee shops, a bar and a variety of retail outlets for gifts and souvenirs. Passengers are aided by a modern personal assistant and flight information display system.
It also features special waiting areas, including V IP and business-class lounges.
The terminal features a baggage reclaim system with two conveyor belt systems within 200m from the apron that reduces baggage waiting times.
JNIA got its new look with construction of the new Terminal Three B uilding.
The renovated terminal building features modern restaurants and passengers' waiting lounge.
KIA also has new scanning machines with ultra-technology in detecting goods that are not allowed for transportation, hence reducing congestion.
One of airlines that introduced direct flights to and from Tanzania is Q atar Airways that brought its Dreamliner 787 - huge, wide and comfortable Series Seven to KIA from June 2019.
KIA can now serve 1,200,000 passengers per year, up from 600,000 before refurbishment and 14 big flights at a go up from nine before refurbishment.
Other international airlines that have introduced flights to KIA with much bigger airplanes are KLM with Boeing 777, Emirates and Ethiopian with Airbus as well as Boeing.
Another is the newly introduced flights by flydubai - a Dubai Aviation Corporation, government-owned budget airline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The airline operates a total of 95 destinations, serving the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe from Dubai.