Mwanza Airport is one among 59 Government owned Airports which are operated and managed by Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA), being the third busiest Airport in Tanzania after Julius Nyerere International Airport and Kilimanjaro International Airport. The Airport is in the category B and it is managed by the Airport Manager who is responsible for monitoring and managing Geita and Ukerewe Airstrips.
Mwanza airport is the hub of air transport in the Great Lakes Region whereby it serves the Great Lakes countries of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as Domestic flights to and from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Bukoba, Shinyanga, Musoma, Tabora, Kigoma etc. Mwanza Airport is situated 10km from Mwanza City center North East with Aerodrome reference point 020 26ʹ 38.86 ʺS 030 25ʹ 554.96ʺ E with elevation of 3,763 ft from sea level.
The Airport was established in early 1940’s before independence of then Tanganyika; this Airport was located at Butuja Village also known as Sabasaba grounds six kilometers from City Center and four kilometers to current position. The Airport was owned and maintained by Williamson Diamonds who established it for the purpose of transporting diamonds and Passengers routing from Mwadui by road to Nairobi by Air when going to Europe.
The Colonial Government took ownership of the Airstrip in 1958 and shifted it from Butuja (Sabasaba) to Kisaka Village (where it is now). This was done for safety issues to avoid accidents because the main road from Town to Kayenze was crossing the Runway.
In 1961 after Independence the Airstrip was handled over to the Government of Tanganyika and was managed by Ministry of Works under Public Works Department (PWD) Aerodromes Division.
In 1970’s The Government started upgrading the Airport from small Air strip to Major Domestic Airport by improving infrastructures as well as installing modern Aviation facilities.
After Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) was formed in 1999, Master Plan for Mwanza Airport was prepared and its implementation resulted into the achievements of the construction of new Terminal building which is on progress, extension of Runway from 3,300 meters length to 3,800 meters, the construction of Passenger apron, Construction of Cargo Apron and Cargo Terminal ,Construction of Control Tower and Installation of New Radar control, Construction of New Power House and Installation of new standby generators and Construction of New Water Pump and Sewage Water Treatment Plant.
As per ICAO Annex 14, Mwanza Airport is classified as a Code 4C Airport. Infrastructures available at the Airport including runway, taxiways, Aprons and Terminal Building.
Mwanza Airport has six taxiways namely Taxiway A, B, C, D, E, F. All Taxiways are in good condition however, Taxiway F is reserved for military aircrafts.
The Airport has three Aprons namely;
i) Terminal Apron reserved for VIP and ad-hoc aircrafts.
ii) Main Apron- All small (general aviation), midsized and big aircrafts are parked at Main Apron. It is capable to accommodate five (5) aircrafts (Airbus 220-300) and one big aircrafts (B787-8 Dreamliner) and other small aircrafts.
iii) Cargo Apron.
The Terminal building was designed to accommodate only 500 passengers, while currently the airport accommodates more than 1000 passengers at peak hours. Several initiates have been deliberately taken as a temporally remedial to solve the challenge like; Rehabilitation and extension of departure lounge and arrival lounge, Renovation of VIP Lounge, Maintenance of Air-condition and Supply of VIP lounge furniture.
AIRPORT OPERATIONAL HOURS
Administration Monday to Friday: 0430 – 1230 UTC, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays (Administration offices remain closed)
Customs and Immigration - 24 hours
Port Health - 24 hours
Aeronautical Information Services - 24 hours
ATS Reporting Office - 24 hours
MET Briefing Office - 24 hours
ATS - 24 hours
Fuelling - 24 hours
Ground Handling - 24 hours
Operations - 24 hours
Security - 24 hours
RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTING SERVICES (RFFS)
Mwanza Airport’s fire category is five (CAT 7). The RFFS station has all important facilities, communications facilities, fire chemicals and other rescue equipment.