Passenger services at Zanzibar airports are set for significant improvements, thanks to the newly signed business deal between the government and experienced service providers. And, President Hussein Mwinyi on Wednesday directed all government institutions at the airports - immigration, Tanzania Revenue Authority, fire brigade and the police - to work closely with the new operators to provide the most appropriate services to customers.
He told the public institutions to facilitate instead of impeding operations. "Many tasks and decisions remain on government institutions; you should always facilitate instead of impeding the work." Dr. Mwinyi said the government has made the bold decision to engage the internationally reputed companies - Dubai National Travel Agency (DNATA) and EGIS Group - to offer superb services that match the huge investment in the airport infrastructure.
"We have as a country investment substantial amount of money in the development of AAKIA's (Abeid Amani Karume International Airport) terminal three; wisdom dictates that we should equally provide services that mirror the imposing infrastructure," President Mwinyi said at the well-attended signing ceremony at Vuga-based State House. He told his audience that the government is determined to provide world class services to our visitors; and these are multinational companies with acceptable repute and capacities to perform.
The President explained that improved services at the airports will attract more visitors, leading to economic growth. "The goal is to increase flights; bring more visitors and strengthen the national economy," he said. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Communication and Transport, Amour Bakari and Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) Acting Director General, Seif Abdallah Juma signed the agreement on behalf of the revolutionary government while DNATA Executive Vice-President, Steve Alen and Christian Lugier inked for DNATA and EGIS, respectively.
The four-component deal entails ground handling services at Zanzibar's AAKIA; airport management services; first and business class airport lounge handling; and duty-free shops at the airports. Works and Communication Minister, Rahma Kassim Ali said Zanzibar has experienced challenges in the provision of standard services in its airports, a serious impediment to tourism, which is the country's key economic sector.
She said thorough and painstaking process was used to pick the airport operators from many companies, which had expressed interest in the job. The Minister informed that construction works on the 25,0002 metre airport, capable of handling 1,6 million passengers annually, has reached 99 percent and will be commissioned before the end of this month.
DNATA's Alen thanked the revolutionary government for the trust on his company, pledging to deliver world class services to Zanzibar visitors. He said his company operations at the airport are expected to create over 400 jobs for the islanders.