Dar es Salaam. Construction of Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal 3 is almost complete, the government said yesterday.
Works, Transport and Communications minister Isack Kamwelwe said the facility would be handed over to the government next month as planned.
He added that the construction was 96 per cent complete, and what was now being done was putting final touches before the contractor hands over the new terminal to the government for operationalisation.
Construction of the terminal was initially slated for completion in December 2017. However, that was extended December 2018, and then again to May 2019.
“We expect the construction to be completed any day in May as earlier projected after having included all complicated and delicate mechanical and electrical installations which needed to be handled carefully, including duty-free shops which we are currently in the last stages of procurement to suppliers,” Mr Kamwelwe said.
However, while Tanzania will be getting a state-of-the-art airport facility by international standards, there is the danger that, but going by current figures, the airport’s capacity would just as soon be overwhelmed.
The country started with JNIA Terminal 1 when it had the capacity to handle 500,000 passengers a year. Then Terminal 2 boosted the handling capacity to 1.5 million passengers. Terminal 3 will ramp up the capacity 6 million passengers a year, the minister revealed.
Over the period, Terminal 1 was confined to handling national leaders and small aircraft, while Terminal 2 caters for both local and foreign passengers. In just last year alone, JNIA handled some 2.6 million local passengers and 3.8 million international travellers.
Noting that the airport’s Terminal 2 handled 6.4 million passengers last year alone (2018), the minister said this was an eye opener that something had to be done soon enough to cater for the ever-increasing number of passengers.
In that regard, Mr Kamwelwe said, Tanzania will just as soon need to relieve Terminal 3 of its overload in the next two years or so – and, in the event, proposed a new facility at Bagamoyo in the Coast Region, or upgrading Dodoma Airport to handle international air traffic.
Reports show that a total of 254 million euros (Sh705.3 billion) was earlier budgeted to be spent on the Terminal 3 project, executed by BAM International of the Netherlands as the contractor, and Arab Consulting Engineers (ACE) of Egypt as project consultant.
But, in due course of time and events, the project’s costs rose by 30 million euros (Sh83.3 billion), largely as a result of changes to the original design, as well as changes to the extant taxation regime and employment legislation.
Also, the need for fresh dialogue between the government and the contractor, BAM International, held up project implementation even as costs mounted in terms of wages payments to otherwise idle workforce, and similar operational costs.