Zanzibar Signs $428 million Deal to Expand Pemba Airport

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Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (SMZ) signed a $428 million agreement with UK Export Financing (UKEF) for the expansion of Pemba Airport. The agreements further involve the construction of various road networks in Unguja and Pemba.

The loan agreements were signed by UKEF and Tanzania’s Finance and Planning Ministry. The signing ceremony was officiated by Zanzibar’s Minister of State, President’s Office, Finance and Planning, Ms Saada Mkuya Salum.

Construction of the airport will take place in two phases. The first phase will involve redesigning the terminal building and extending the runway. Pemba Airport, built in 1962, has a runway length of 500 metres and a width of 15 metres. The airport can only accommodate light aircraft. However, the new redesign will allow international flights to fly direct into the island.

Additionally, the project will transform Pemba Airport into an international airport by extending its runway to 2.5 kilometres. Moreover, the project will erect a new terminal building.

Also Read: Construction at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport/Zanzibar airport in good progress

Significance of expansion of Pemba Airport to the tourism industry

Pemba Airport currently serves only 45,000 passengers annually, whereas the number of tourists visiting the island exceeds 110,000 annually. Upon completion, the airport will have the capacity to accommodate 750,000 passengers per year.

“Once completed at the end of 2026, the airport development will significantly attract more tourists to Pemba Island, as improved infrastructure often signals greater opportunities for the future, said the Minister of Works and Transport, D. Khalid Salum Mohamed.

The extensive Zanzibar road project encompasses the 48km Tunguu-Makudunchi Road in Unguja South Region. The infrastructure project further extends 12km Kisauni-Fumba Road in West Urban Region and 43.5km Mkoani-Chake Chake Pemba Road.

These roads will be stretched to include four lanes, with two lanes in each direction, along with street lighting and pedestrian paths. Road works are anticipated to be an unprecedented boom for tourism.