Kilimanjaro International next in line for upgrade


(eTN) – Information has been coming in fast and furious in recent weeks, with news chasing news of yet another major international gateway, and even secondary airports being upgraded, expanded, and renovated to finally give aviation the state-of-the-art facilities air operators have been demanding in past years as traffic grew and terminals and aircraft parking stands congested more and more.

The operator of Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), the Kilimanjaro Airport Development Company or in short KADCO, is finally living up to its name and is now set to invest up to US$39 million in giving the airport a long overdue development via a facelift and an initially modest expansion.

The airport, now about 40 years old, still has the same aged terminal and facilities and little else to attract casual visitors other than passengers who arrive or depart from JRO. While passenger numbers now top the half million mark per annum, a threefold increase over the past decade and a half in comparison to Nairobi or Entebbe, where numbers were rising much more swiftly, is in urgent need to get a new look.

To be able to attract airlines flying to JRO, it is, however, also the cost structure which has often been criticized by air operators, claiming JRO is too expensive in comparison with its main competitors in the region, so KADCO has its work cut out for sure to find a more balanced approach.

The company reportedly sourced a US$30 million loan, making up the balance of capital needed to accomplish the project over the next three years from other sources.

Arusha and Moshi, the nearest municipalities to the airport, are the gateways to the so-called northern safari circuit of Arusha National Park, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti, while Moshi serves as a base for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain.