The Business Year

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Salim R. Msangi

TANZANIA - Transport

Prepare the Runway

Acting Director General, Tanzania Airports Authority


George Sambali was born in 1965, in Tanga Region and holds an MSc in transport and road engineering from a university in the Netherlands. Prior to that, he received a BSc in civil engineering from the University of Dar es Salaam. The new TAA director general has also attained several certificates from both local and international aviation courses including a Certificate in Airport Executive Leadership that was awarded to him in Montreal, Canada, in 2014. In 2015 he was awarded a Post-graduate Diploma in International Airports Professional (AIP) in Canada. He has worked with the TAA since 2011 in various management capacities before his most recent appointment.

TBY talks to Salim R. Msangi, Acting Director General of the Tanzania Airports Authority, on the challenges that come with managing 58 airports across the country and the investments being made in the country's aviation sector.

Can you give us a sense of the scale of Tanzania’s aviation industry?

As the airport authority, we manage about 58 airports across the country and, according to the National Transport Policy, we are supposed to have an airport in each region of the country. Some are small airstrips but they have flights going on. As activities expand we have to upgrade the airports that we have today into big airports to meet current demand. We need to develop runways, terminal buildings, and also provide infrastructure for safety such as fire trucks and runway lights. We expect to be audited by the civil aviation regulator and again by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to ensure we are compliant. The capital will shift to Dodoma; therefore, we will build an airport that meets the requirements of the region. That means building capacity for international flights to come to Dodoma after the government has constituted its activities there. In terms of income for the authority, the largest portion of our income comes from one airport, Julius Nyerere, which contributes over 80% of the total income. Much of the income that comes from there will support the development of other airports’ infrastructure.

What other investments are being considered?

Terminal 3 is being constructed now, and by November 2017 it will be open. There are many opportunities, especially in airport hotels and other businesses. We have many requests for investments in airport hotels and many of these requests come to Julius Nyerere. There are a number of hotels coming that want to catch that market because they know that demand will be huge when we complete Terminal 3. There are some airlines that depart at night and passengers will want to be next to the airport to avoid traffic, and this is something that we need to catch up on very quickly and advertise for those who want to come and invest. Not only at Julius Nyerere, but we also have other airports, such as Mwanza, where we have land that could be developed. In Arusha, the airport for general aviation is congested with small flights. Many tourists use it to fly into Arusha to take further transport to the national parks, which is why we seek investors to cater to this market.

What changes do you expect to take place under the new government?

The government has decided to allocate a good amount of money to improve airport infrastructure. We have a project in Shinyanga beginning shortly with a terminal building, runway, taxiway, and apron. We also have Sumbawanga and projects in Tabora and Kigoma beginning soon with the same infrastructure of runway, taxiway, and apron. There are another 11 airports where the feasibility studies are still in progress and once completed the government will start sourcing funds and then it will take off. In Mwanza we had a project for a cargo terminal, cargo apron, and an extension of the runway to 3.5km from 3km. Mwanza is the second-largest airport under the Tanzania Airports Authority. There is another airport where construction has started called Chato airport, which is in the region of Geita. The construction of the runway has started and is a new airport in a greenfield location.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

Looking ahead, in terms of business we expect progress on the economic side, which affects businesses other than the airport. The country’s economy is progressing well and these indications also improve the airport business. When there is improvement in the tourism sector, it also positively affects growth in the aviation sector. Therefore, when there are positive indications in the economy, agriculture, and tourism sectors I expect investment and positive growth in the coming 12 months. We expect to grow beyond the ministry’s target of 20% in revenues this year.



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