PLANS are afoot for the expansion of Njombe Airport in order to allow for smooth landing of major aircrafts, the government said in parliament.
"The work will include expansion of a runway, an airport road and aircraft hangar at tarmac level, construction of a new passenger building as well as a fire brigade centre," said the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications in a written response to a question posed by Special Seats MP, Lucia Mlowe (CHADEMA).
In her question, the lawmaker said that Njombe Airport was constructed near residential areas, a move that causes people to pay huge penalties in case of trespassing.
"Are there any plans to relocate the airport so that this area can be used for other activities that are affecting area residents?" the MP asked.
In the response, the ministry said during the activities to expand the Njombe Airport, the government will equally involve the construction of a road towards the facility and build a fence that will deter people from entering the airport.
Currently, the government is looking for possible funding to rehabilitate this airport to the required international standards; therefore we do not intend to relocate it from where it is as we believe that after expansion, all the inconvenience will no longer be there to area residents.
Njombe Airport, like many other airports in the country, was constructed in 1940 during the colonial era.
It became operational in 1945, and as per the international aviation legislations, it is strictly prohibited for any person, vehicles and animals, among others, to enter into the airport area without prior permission.
According to the ministry, based on the fact that area residents were still carrying out their activities including crossing the fence contrary to the law, various legal measures were being taken against them.
"In getting out of this problem, the government in 2017, carried out a feasibility study and detailed design, through a loan from World Bank, and this involved 10 other airports countrywide," noted the government in its response.