More than 80 years of airport experience, Zanzibar ex-parliamentarian Parmukh Singh Hoodan, 66, a vivid defender of heritage in Zanzibar, recalls: “In the 40s…..
..there were no electric lights at the runway, firemen from the airport brigade had to lit fire to show pilots the direction.” It was his grandfather, colonial architect Ajit Singh who designed the first aerodrome in Kisauni (small photo left) and also the subsequent old airport with its characteristic window ornaments (large photo left).After the collapse of the East African community in 1977, each country developed and managed its own civil aviation sector – with varying success. Zanzibar’s new Abeid Karume International Airport (AAKIA), built by China, had a decade-long delay in opening.
But now, with ground and passenger handling run by airport professionals DNATA from Dubai, the new terminal 3 (photo right) is finally operational modern VIP lounge Marhaba (entry $45 for non VIPs) and an inviting spice bar just opened.A whole line of shops is in the making, and among the, an express spa by Zuri Rituals, Wonders Boutique, Elias Jewellery, and a proper duty free. Operating 9 gates and 4 air bridges, the airport “is expected to serve more than 15 airlines and handle up to 20 flights daily in 2023” said Tom Alwyn-Jones, managing director of DNATA Zanzibar. Marhaba services can be booked online at www.marhabaservices.com.