The launch of Qatar flights will make KIA Tanzania’s second point after Dar es Salaam on the African map. Apart from KIA, other featured passenger route expansions in six months period are Serbia and Myanmar.
The lucrative deal is translated into an increased number of international arrivals at the airport that has consistently grown by nearly 15 per cent annually since 2003. KIA currently serves 650,000 passengers per year.
Qatar Airways joins other major airlines such as KLM, Edelweiss air, Condor air and Ethiopian Airlines to fly to the northern located international airport.
“For Swissport Tanzania, the ground handling services company,the deal would boost aviation activities at the airport, bringing about multiple benefits in terms of revenues and employment opportunities,” said the Swissport Tanzania spokesperson Mr James Mhagama.
He said Qatar airways operations at KIA would offer the best alternative choice for both local and international passengers to board direct flights to the northern regions endowed with the unique tourism attractions in the world. Commenting on the importance of the new flight in the development of the country’s tourism sector, the Tanzania Tourist Board Managing Director Dr Aloyce Nzuki, said the number of tourists from the Middle and Far East to the northern region are likely to increase.
“The services to and from Kilimanjaro to one of the fastest growing destinations in today’s aviation industry is of vital importance to further develop the tourism potential of Tanzania,” he remarked. As Qatar Airways has been voted best airline in the world, and it is believed that the quality product it offers matches the many unique experiences that National Parks offer to the discerning traveler of today.
Development of tourism depends on development of almost every other sector of the economy. It connotes movement of an individual from one place or region to the other. Traveling within Africa has been a major bottleneck towards promotion of tourism among countries on the continent. To travel to West or North Africa, an individual is subjected to fly first to Europe then back to the expected destination in Africa.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker announced the new route at the Indonesia and Bali Score Awards at the (ITB Berlin), the world’s largest travel show that took place in the German capital last week. According to a statement released by Qatar Airways, the airline will serve KIA with an Airbus A320 via Nairobi. Exact schedule times are yet to be announced.
KIA’s Chief Executive Officer CEO, Marco van de Kreeke, was quoted saying the link with the strong Qatar Airways network will improve connections to the Middle East, India, China and other Asian destinations. He expressed optimism that the new daily service to Doha will further stimulate the growth and help Kilimanjaro Airport fulfil its ambition as the preferred gateway to the Northern tourist circuit of Tanzania.
“The airport is very happy with the decision by Qatar Airways to fly to Kilimanjaro. “Connections to Australia and New Zealand will also improve, and last but not least: travelers from Europe and America will have another option to reach the Kilimanjaro”, he said. He said the Doha hub provides many connection opportunities, as for example to Kilimanjaro’s biggest source market London, which will soon be served from Doha by Qatar five times per day.
The announcement of Qatar Airways comes shortly after the announcement of a $35 million (about 56bn/-) facelift that Kilimanjaro International Airport is to get in the coming years. The design phase of a renovation project, which will see runway, taxiways and aprons overhauled and resurfaced, started in January 2012.
The project will also include the building of a new taxiway to increase the capacity of the airport, and upgrading and expansion of the terminal building to accommodate the growing number of passengers through the airport. Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 105 aircraft to 112 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.