Message from the Director General
If you ask me what I see happening in the next 5 to 10 years in our institution I would say I see the Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA) having international airports in all cities in Tanzania. That is the direction I envision for TAA.
In addition to city airports, I also see all regional airports in border regions being upgraded to Code 4E aerodromes and accommodating all types of aircrafts in the market. This may seem ambitious but we must dream big. Currently most of our regional airports close their operations by 5pm before it gets dark. I would like to see regional airports accommodating aircrafts that carry between 70-100 passengers and managing night movement so that our main customer airlines can clock the required flying time to get good returns for their investment. I also see our city airports operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year and steadily opening the gateway for intercontinental traffic into Tanzania.
One critical area for immediate improvement in our operations is the air side because our main customer is the airline whose main interest is to land safely, offload their passengers and take off. Over the past six years, some 250 million Euros has been invested towards internationally accepted infrastructural developments on the air side aimed at improving access, runway capacity, taxiway, parking for aircrafts and other air safety related facilities. Before these improvements, the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam for example, could handle only 6 airplanes per hour. Now it can handle up to 30 airplanes an hour, and after the construction of Terminal III is completed, JNIA will be able to increase its passenger handling capacity from the existing 700 to 2,500 passengers per hour.
The greatest strength that TAA boasts of is its human capital. The Agency started with 3 professional Engineers and has grown to 11 professional Engineers and 1 consulting Engineer. We have a robust recruitment system and we hunt for the best. Our staff is highly trained and specialized. I am very proud and confident that any of my staff can represent the Agency adequately in various capacities. Training and human resource development is taken very seriously with an annual training budget of not less than 7% that has been sustainable. Staff cohesion is also very strong. It is important to note that the success of TAA's operations is due to its staff. Even though it operates in line with government policy, the government relates to TAA with an 'Eyes on, hands off' attitude.
Besides human capital, we have the required infrastructure to support our operations. Most of the regional airports have been upgraded and new ones established. Currently, TAA manages 58 airports. It has a monopoly in the industry, which is growing by a steady 15% per year in terms of movement.
Despite these impressive successes, TAA is grappling with a number of challenges including the common challenge of finances to fund the Agency's improvement and expansion plans. Howerver, we have been very proactive in dealing with them. In 2006, we spotted an opportunity to approach the World Bank and they showed interest to fund airports infrastructure development projects. Soon after that the Europena Investment Bank (EIB) came in and later the Arab Bank for African Development (BADEA) for developments at Mwanza airport and Songwe a Greenfield airport. BADEA has also promised to provide fund for Msalato Airport in Dodoma and Chinese are showing interest to work with TAA at some point. All these funding agencies are confident that their flags will fly high through TAA. We contribute significantly to the national economy and have been beefing up government coffers through money accrued from passenger service charges.
We do not have a strong national airline but our operations hinge on a logical strategy that will help to propel us into having model destination airports in all major cities in the country. We aim to take full advantage of the country's need for economic growth whose explosion is just around the corner with the discovery of gas in Mtwara and numerous other resources in various regions.