Sumbawanga Airport in Tanzania to receive US $24.9m boost

The Sumbawanga Airport in Tanzania is set to receive US $24.9m boost for the upgrade to international standards. On completion, the airport sets to stimulate economic growth in the region while at the same time attract business opportunities in the neighboring countries such as Zambia and DRC.

The airport will also become a gateway to tourism attractions such as Kalambo Falls in Kalambo District. The Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Engineer Atashasta Niditiye, yesterday visited and inspected the airport during his two day working tour in Rukwa region.

During a site visit on the ongoing project Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Engineer Atashasta Niditiye, affirmed that the government through the Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) has secured over US $24.9m, a soft loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the major rehabilitation and expansion of the Airport.

Residents compensation

Additionally, the government has set aside some US $1.5m to compensate about 97 residents. The residents are from two wards of Old Sumbawanga about 27 people and Izia 70 whose areas will be taken for the project.

According to Engr. Niditiye the compensation money has been verified by experts from the Ministry of Finance and Planning and all registered residents from the two wards will be compensated very soon in a quest to start the project. Moreover, Engr Niditiye was shocked to witness a crowd of people, auto – rickshaws, and motorbikes crisscrossing the facility while kids were busy playing football. He immediately directed TAA to ensure the airport boundaries are identified, demarcated and fenced as soon as possible .
The Acting Rukwa Regional Commissioner (RC), Dr Halfany Haule who is also the Sumbawanga District Commissioner (DC) said the airport will provide the area with an ample transportation facility that will open up the region’s sky to international market.
Economy growth

Rukwa residents are embracing the expansion since it will increase opportunity for economic growth at individual and regional level as well. Historically, the airport was built in 1945 shortly after the World War II meant to serve small airplanes for spraying farms with insecticide.

In 1985 it was rehabilitated and was officially opened by the former President Ally Hassan Mwinyi for domestic flights.