Dar airport to handle over 30 planes an hour By WILFRED EDWIN Cancel Posted Monday, March 1 2010 at 00:00 THE EAST AFRICAN The modernisation of JK Nyerere International Airport, to be completed in July this year, will enable it to handle more than 30 planes an hour, up from the current 11. Terminal One and Two of the busiest airport in Tanzania are currently being expanded, in a $56 million project - a combination of a loan from the Netherlands and funds from the Tanzanian government. Infrastructure Development Minister Shukuru Kawambwa, who visited the airport last week, said the airport will handle larger aeroplanes and more passengers. Dr Kawambwa said the two terminals are currently congested, since they were designed to handle only 1.2 million passengers a year but are now handling up to 1.5 million. Tanzania's aviation industry is growing by 14 per cent every year. At Terminal Two, construction of a new taxiway, parallel to the old one, is expected to be complete by July. Tanzania Airport Authority manager Proper Tesha says the new taxiway is built to the level of a runway - meaning it is strong enough to be used as a runway during emergencies. A new VIP lounge that is currently under construction near Terminal Two is expected to be completed in April, in time for the arrival of world leaders for the Economic Forum for Africa that is scheduled to be held in Dar es Salaam for the first time in May. The VIP building is being funded by China Sonangol International to the tune of $6 million. It will accommodate more than 75 guests and still have room to spare, compared with the one-room VIP lounge at Terminal Two. The VIP conference room can accommodate more than 36 people. On completion of another project to Terminal 3, within the same area, the JK Nyerere International Airport will be able to handle seven million passengers a year. This will enable it to compete with other regional airports such as Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, officials say. Dr Kawambwa says construction of buildings for Terminal Three will start soon. The terminal will house international passenger lounges, commercial complexes, hotels and a fuel station, which is currently at terminal one. Demolition of houses in the nearby Kipawa suburb to pave the way for the expansion has already been done. By mid this month, Tsh17 billion ($12.7 million) out of Tsh18 billion ($13.4 million) had been paid out to Kipawa residents as compensation and to fund relocation to Pugu, Kipunguni and Majohe areas, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam. A master plan for the airport aims to make it the largest and the busiest international hub in the region. This is partly symbolised by TAA's plan to launch an ambitious export processing zone project to stimulate manufacturing and production of value-added goods, boost exports and aid in the financing of airport maintenance and upgrading.