in Features / Airports

Capital investment boosts Dodoma links

Posted 24 May 2021 · Add Comment

Tanzania’s capital is in line for a new airport that will dramatically improve the city’s connectivity. Alan Dron reports.

Operating beyond capacity: Dodoma Airport, currently serving the capital, has no room to expand. Picture: Tanzania Airports Authority.

Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital, is due to receive a major boost to its transport links with the construction of a new airport.

A small regional airport already exists but is not big enough for future needs. It is already operating above its operational capacity (it handled around 100,000 passengers in 2019-20) and is close to the city centre, making expansion difficult.

The new airport is to be built at Msalato, some 14km north of the city centre. As well as serving the capital’s population, it is located close to several national parks and game reserves, making it attractive for tourists.

At present, visitors heading for these attractions have to land at Dar es Salaam, around 300km away, and transfer by internal flight or road. Travelling by car or coach typically takes around eight hours.

Work on the new airport is scheduled to start after the current financial year, according to the Tanzania Airports Authority, with the first phase taking two years.

This will see the construction of a single runway 3,600m long x 60m wide, which will later be extended to 4,500m in length. A terminal, apron, taxiways, air traffic control tower, and airport infrastructure will complete the first phase.

This will cost an estimated $330 million, funded primarily by the African Development Bank (AFDB) – $272 million – with the Tanzanian Government contributing the rest.

A second phase will see construction of a second, parallel (09/27) 4,500m x 60m runway, with both main landing strips having an adjacent 3600m x 45m secondary runway.

The AFDB said in late February that the new airport, which will have an annual capacity of more than 1.5 million passengers, will meet the city’s anticipated increase in connectivity and access needs in the medium-to-long term.

It added that lack of international air traffic connectivity to the region, due to the current limiting airport infrastructure, is inhibiting market, business and industrial development, and the accompanying growth of employment. The new airport is intended to be an economic growth enabler.

 

 

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