Arusha — Ethiopian Airlines will now fly three times a week to the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) to pick fresh produce destined for the European Markets,
The arrangement is the result of a joint initiative by the Tanzania Horticulture Association (Taha) and the Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (Kadco), which manages the airport and one of the leading carriers in Africa.
One of the jets from the Horn of Africa country was at the second busiest airports in the country on Friday and ferried tonnes of fresh horticulture produce abroad.
Export of horticulture products from Tanzania has been negatively impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus,which has forced major world carriers to suspend flights to KIA.
"This is a great relief to us. Despite the devastation caused by Covid-19 globally, the demand for food is still there," said the minister for Agriculture Japhet Hasunga.
The deputy minister for Works, Transport and Communications Eng. Atashasta Nditiye challenged the airport management to ensure a cold room at the airport was in good condition.
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The facility was purposely built to preserve perishables like vegetables, fruits and flowers ready for being air- freighted to Europe. It can hold 110 tonnes at a time.
Taha Group CEO Ms Jacquiline Mkindi said the Ethiopian carrier was a saviour to the perishable horticultural products from the northern zone which could rot if not airlifted to markets abroad in time.