From Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro with love: KLM’s first 787-10 Dreamliner lands at KIA
Royal Dutch Airline, KLM has deployed its first Dreamliner to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) direct from Amsterdam, offering a ray of hope to a Tanzania’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry.
The new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, “Oranjebloesem” (Orange Blossom) registration PH-BKA, was delivered in Amsterdam on Sunday June 30, 2019 and its maiden scheduled flight was KIA or JRO on Tuesday July 2, 2019.
Indeed, the maiden landing of the most touted luxurious plane at KIA, a major gateway to Tanzania’s northern tourism circuit, with 344 tourists from across Europe, has essentially graced the onset of the tourism high season.
It was greeted at KIA with a water salute after having successfully touched the JRO’s running way at 7:40 p.m East African Time, as the Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Dr. Annah Mghwira leading the crowd to cheer the historic landing of the aircraft.
KLM is the first European airline to operate this more sustainable and economical aircraft. The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner has the same efficient engines as the 787-9. The combination of these engines with the use of lighter materials in the 787-10 means it produces lower carbon emissions and less noise.
“The 787-10’s design is highly sophisticated, with large windows and a spacious interior providing much more room and comfort” Captain Tom Van Hoorn told eTurboNews at KIA. KLM plans to have 15 Boeing 787-10s in its fleet by 2022.
Kilimanjaro Regional governor, Dr Mghwira expressed Tanzania’s government appreciation to KLM for the great honor of deploying its first new Dreamliner to land at KIA with such considerable number of tourists at the onset of high tourism season.
“This is a vote of confident from KLM and we are reciprocating in kind as we will ensure all holiday-makers are enjoying our attractions hustle free,” she explained, underscoring the need for tour operators to grab the opportunity for offering the tourists the best services.
For her part, Business Development Manager, Ms Chirstine Mwakatobe from Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO), an executive arm of the KIA, thanked KLM for bestowing the great honor on Tanzania.
“Today is a special day as we receive the latest Dreamliner, the first to be operated by KLM and also KIA being the first airport for the aircraft to land,” Ms Mwakatobe explained.
She attributes the improvement of KIA’s hard and soft infrastructures, as well as good rapport between the KLM and the airport as the key factors behind the deployment of Dreamliner B787-10.
Indeed recently, Tanzania picked, BAM International contracting firm of Netherlands, to execute what was billed as the largest overhaul ever, in its efforts to elevate KIA into a fully-fledged tourist’s gateway.
Financed by Tanzania and the Dutch governments at $39.7 million, the makeover project, saw all runways, apron, taxiways and passenger lounge modernized in a bid to offer holidaymakers a hassle-free trip to the country’s northern tourist’s circuit.
With increased traffic, demands for customer satisfaction, security concerns and growing competition, KIA has found it imperative to benchmark itself with pace setting organizations, meeting and overcoming emerging challenges along the way.
The 47-year-old airport, which situated between Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions, has over the years undergone a series of touch-ups and renovations, but now has achieved world-class status with the makeover.
KADCO’s Mwakatobe said that the airport’s modernization included the expansion of the terminal buildings, increased the length and width of taxiways and runaways, expanded aircraft aprons as well as established other essential services at the terminal.
Ms Mwakatobe further divulged that, BAM also installed new airfield ground lighting and floodlights along the aprons, resurfaced the runaways, and created continuous loop linking runways and taxiways to eliminate delays in landing and take-off.
Boasting an annual increase of 25 percent in passenger traffic, KIA management management expects to handle nearly 1.2 million flying customers this year. Inaugurated for business in 1972, KIA was designed to handle just 200,000 passengers annually.