KIA sounds out airlines to airlift agro products

03Jan 2020
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
KIA sounds out airlines to airlift agro products

HE Kilimanjaro Airport Development Company (KADCO) is in talks with major global airlines to enable cargo planes land at the airport to transport agricultural products abroad.

KADCO managing director Christopher Mukoma

said in an interview that if the discussion goes well traders especially for horticulture products will be able to transport the products to other countries in a smooth and timely manner.

 Mukoma acknowledged that currently there are no cargo flights but by March such flights will start landing at the airport.

“We are in discussion with two big air companies, and once the airlines commence their flights, they will be taking cargos at KIA, Mwanza and Mbeya to ensure that the airplanes fly with enough cargo there and will soon starting landing. This is good news for traders, and we are calling on them to be ready to use the airport to export their products,” he said.

Cargo flights were not landing at the airport due to low amount of cargo, he stated.

“One flight can carry a minimum of 30 tonnes per trip but we hardly receive ten tonnes from traders, but the situation has continued to improve,” he said. “You know these flights have to come empty expecting to carry enough cargo when going back.”

 KIA has enough cold room facilities that can handle up to 110 tonnes of cargo, the director noted.

More improvements will be conducted in the course of this year focusing on marketing the airport inside and outside the country to attract more visitors.

“During the year 2020, we expect to invest more in marketing. We will come up with innovative marketing strategies to attract more air companies, visitors and traders to transport their cargos,” he stated.

So far at least 13 companies conduct daily flights at KIA with several others conducting scheduled flights.

 “Airlines using KIA are Kenya Airways, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Fly Dubai. We also have others from Australia,” he elaborated.

Following massive rehabilitation and upgrading of KIA, the terminal can now receive and serve up to eleven big planes at once.

The rehabilitation and upgrading of the terminal involved the extension of its runways, taxiways, aprons and passengers’ waiting building.

“After the major renovations that have been conducted, the airport is now able to handle 1.2 million passengers annually, from 500,000 passengers it could handle in the past,” he specified.

KADCO manages KIA,-the country's second largest terminal after the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JKNIA) in Dar es Salaam.

Dubbed  the safest terminal in East Africa, KIA is strategically located about halfway between Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions and since these are the main tourist portals in the north, KIA remains Tanzania's major tourists' landing spot.

In 2013, Kilimanjaro Airport was declared overall winner of the 'Routes Africa Airport Marketing Award,'  one among prestigious awards in the industry voted for and judged by the airline industry.