Government to construct another airport in Bukoba.



The government has acknowledged that Bukoba Airport faces difficulties, particularly during the rainy season, despite the Tanzania Airports Authority's (TAA) declaration that the airport is safe for landing.

As a result, preparations are being made to build the long-awaited Omukajunguti Airport which will serve as an alternative to the current Bukoba Airport.

The government's remarks come two weeks after the Precision Air flight PW-494 with 43 passengers on board crashed into Lake Victoria, killing 19 people.

The plane crashed while attempting to land an incident that has been attributed to bad weather.

After the incident, various stakeholders in the aviation industry, including pilots and flight engineers, mentioned the Bukoba among airports that give them trouble during landing and takeoff.

They said the struggle is due to the constant change of weather that occurs, as well as the presence of mountains in the surrounding areas.

While the country continues to wait for investigation on the incident, on Thursday November 17, Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) plane failed to land at Bukoba Airport due to bad weather, a situation that forced and the pilot of the to divert the flight to Mwanza Airport, where all passengers disembarked  safely.

Mr Atupele Mwakibete, the deputy minister for Works and Transport, told Mwananchi on the phone that, in addition to renovating the airport, the government plans to build another one.

"The area where the new airport is set to be constructed is the border with Uganda, we have already started looking for Sh9 billion to pay compensation to the people because the valuation was already done a long time ago," he said.

Mwakibete said the regional authority has already submitted a proposal for the construction of the new Omukajunguti Airport and they are working on it.

He, however, said that for a plane to cancel landing at Bukoba Airport, is an issue that can happen at any airport.

"It could have been Bukoba, as it happened; it could have been Mwanza, Julius Nyerere International Airport, or any airport depending on the weather at the time," he explained.

TAA remarks

While addressing journalists on in Dar es Salaam November 10, TAA director general Mussa Mbura said safety and security of the airports is based of international technical and safety standards.

"Even before the accident there, we have never received complaints or concerns from any pilot or passengers regarding the safety of our airports, not just Bukoba but all of the airports," Mr Mbura said.

He said, according to the recent assessment of international technical and safety standards by The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Tanzania achieved a 67 percent in airport safety and security which is above the minimum requirement of 60 percent.