Frequency of light aircraft landing and taking off from Moshi airport has increased to an average of 12.4 per cent from 491 flights in 2009 to 638 flights last year.
Deputy Minister for Transport Dr Charles Tizeba also announced that the number of passengers using the airport has increased by 37.3 per cent from 575 passengers in 2009 to 1,355 last year.
Responding to a question by Moshi Urban MP, Philemon Ndesamburo, who wanted to know the reason as why the government was, according to him, ‘abandoning’ the airport, the Deputy Minister yesterday asserted before the House that the Moshi Airstrip is ‘too valuable’ as it serves to support tourism in the area.
He said that Moshi Airport plays an important social role as it is used to transport patients who have been referred to other hospitals in and out of the country from the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre referral hospital.
“So, it is not true that the government has abandoned the airport…right now the airport is serviced by the government through Tanzania Aviation Authority (TAA) and there are six permanent employees working at the airport...” the minister said.
Last week the deputy minister, responding to Hai MP Freeman Mbowe about an apparent Precision Air interest to use the airstrip as a training college, said: “…room for talks is open…the proposed training is also highly needed at this point and time…we await contact by the airlines management and the government welcomes and supports such development programmes….”
Yesterday the deputy minister revealed that the government is set to improve runways of ten airports across the country including Moshi airport.
The World Bank has loaned Tanzania 3.2bn/- to finance the feasibility studies in the ten regional airports.
“Rehabilitation of the airports is to start soon after accomplishing then feasibility studies,” the minister said.