Songwe was opened on 13th December 2012 to take part of the Old Mbeya Airport which was serving the region since colonial era and is among 59 airports managed, maintained and operated under Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA). The Airport is in the GROUP II Airports and its license is valid up to 31stAugust 2020. It operates as a domestic and entry and exit point for international flights. Other airports in this category are Mwanza, Mtwara, Arusha, Dodoma and Kigoma. The Airport is managed by Airport Manager who is responsible for monitoring and managing other airstrips in Region which are Chunya and old Mbeya airport area.
Songwe Airport was officially opened on 13th December 2012 after the closure of Mbeya airport which was serving the Region since colonial era. The airport is located 25 kilometres south-west of Mbeya city along TANZAM highway 4412 feet above sea level at geographical coordinates 085511.79S 0331626.75E with reference temperature of 24oC and has the total surveyed area of 799.512 hectares in plot number 437 Block D in Mbeya District.
As per ICAO Annex 14, Songwe airport has a runway length of 3330 metres and taxiway width is 45 (PCN 57) and width of 45 metres classified to code 4D of aerodrome categories as per ICAO standards, but licensed to operate as code 3C due to current infrastructural limitations. The apron has 17,400.54 meter square (194.66m X 89.9m) and can accommodate up to five code C/four code D aircrafts at a time.
The ongoing project of major rehabilitation of Songwe airport which commenced May 2020 involving resurfacing of runway 09-27, installation of airfield ground lights (AGL) and construction of inner security fence, is set to attract more traffic to meet the demand in the region which include the introduction of cargo flights to uplift perishable goods.
The Airport operates on daily basis Monday to Sunday from 0630 – 1830 hrs (sunrise and sunset).
i. Customs (2hrs Pre-Note) and Immigration (Daily 0630-1830hrs)
ii. Air Traffic Control and Aeronautical Information Services (Daily 0630-1830hrs)
iii. MET Briefing Office (Daily 0630-1830hrs)
iv. Fuelling (Daily 0630-1830hrs), JET A1
v. Airport Security (Daily 0630-1830hrs)
vi. Ground handling services – AIRCO (Daily 0630-1830hrs)
RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTING SERVICES (RFFS)
The category of fire is Category Six (6), the station is equipped with all facilities necessary for rescue including communications facilities, fire chemicals and other rescue equipment.