Massive expansion of Kilimanjaro airport, Tanzania, with Dutch funding – evicting up to 10,000 people

It was announced in 2012 that the Dutch government would provide some $36 million for expanding and upgrading Kilimanjaro airport, in Tanzania. There are many flower growers in the area, and the Netherlands imports flowers by air.  The Dutch funding would pay for around 42% of the cost of the airport development, which includes refurbishment of all runways, and taxiways  and airport facilities.  But the land take would be around 23,000 acres of which about 9,000 are occupied. There are also plans to convert the 110 square kilometre area around the airport into a modern duty-free “shopping city” for tourists that would compete with Dubai. It would include shopping centres, tourist hotels, duty free shops, export processing zones, curio shops, golf courses and a large game ranch. The airport says they own the land and the people are illegal squatters, but the plans involve removing about 10,000 people.  There have therefore been huge protests against this compulsory removal and disputes about land ownership. The amount of compensation for those removed was estimated in 2002 to be about $300,000 but the government now says that is too high. 


Netherlands supports expansion of Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania

Feb 22, 2014

TANZANIA (eTN) – With support from the Netherlands government, Tanzania will carry out an expansion project for the Kilimanjaro International Airport in the northern tourist circuit.

The Netherlands government had signed an agreement this week to provide €15 million to support Tanzania in carrying out rehabilitation and expansion of Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen signed the agreement in Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam and said the €15 million grant was for a Dutch government-funded facility for infrastructure.

The amount is 42.25 percent of the 6-year project cost, with the Tanzania government contributing the remaining 20.5 million euro, said Mrs. Saada Mkuya, Tanzania’s Finance Minister.

Upon completion, Kilimanjaro Airport will attract more international flights, hence boosting the growing tourist flow in northern Tanzania as well as cargo flower handling.

Several international airlines are now landing in northern Tanzania through Kilimanjaro Airport. These include Qatar Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, and Condor German Airlines, a charter tourist carrier from Germany.

The expansion project of the airport will start this year and be completed in 2020.

The rehabilitation project will cover the aprons, taxiways, and terminal building to efficiently handle an expected increase in passengers over the coming 20 years.

The Dutch Minister is visiting Tanzania to strengthen the four-decade bilateral relations with a business delegation of over 30 Dutch companies active in oil and gas and maritime infrastructure looking for investment opportunities in the country.

Other than tourism, the Netherlands is the leading European importer of Tanzanian flowers, mostly grown in the northern Tanzania regions of Arusha and Kilimanjaro on the foothills of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro.



Tanzania: Lands Minister Rules Against KIA Squatters

14 October 2014

By Deus Ngowi  (All Africa)

Moshi — THE MINISTER for Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Professor Anna Tibaijuka has ruled against squatters around Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), saying all land that was apportioned to the airport remains under its ownership.

Professor Tibaijuka who was on a tour of the disputed areas said here that even if the airport vicinity cuts across villages, it is deemed that good use of the land in public interest is for the airport purposes and its projected expansion.

“An airport has to be in an administrative area whether in rural or urban setting.  KIA is there to stay but citizens cannot live on an airfield. For public interest and economy wise, the airport is very important and it is to be extended.

Conduct boundary recovery and tell those responsible (Ministry of Transport) to secure their borders,” said the Minister giving citizens a cold shoulder.

She said that basically, the dispute should not have surfaced and solution to it is clear-cut because villages are just administrative boundaries that should not trouble anyone as airport was earmarked many years ago and the matter has to come to an end.

Kilimanjaro Regional Urban Planning Officer, Mr Godbless Kimaro said villagers who reside in the contested area, claim to be rightful owners of the strip of land.

The dispute surfaced anew recently when Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO) that manages KIA was verifying its area.

The residents from Tindigani, Mtakuja, Sanya Station and Majengo , Chemka and Rundugai villages took to the streets earlier this year, protesting what they termed as notice to vacate from the areas they claim to have known as their only home in their entire life.

The population is thought to be about 10,000. Reacting to that, Minister Tibaijuka said if KIA got the title deed before clearing third party interest, then relevant organs have to establish how many people and for how long have been within the disputed area and see them off with some sort of reparation.

“The area is meant for the airport only and that is in the public interest. Boundary recovery should be done to establish those within and look for what can be done.  We should not abuse compensation process; it has to be done only in genuine cases.  Evaluation has to be done to establish candidly those who are entitled, if any. I suppose title deed for the airport was legally issued, so they (holders) have to secure their borders,” said the Minister.

It is estimated that 9,000 acres out of the total area of 23,000 acres designated for the airport expansion have fallen in the hands of intruders from Arumeru District in Arusha Region and Hai District in Kilimanjaro Region.

KADCO is planning, among other things, refurbishment of runways, taxiways and passenger lounges under the new airport integrated master plan.

KIA Ward Councillor, Mr Sinyok Ole Nairuko was quoted earlier on saying they are not squatters as before the airport was constructed they had their residence at the area.

The KIA area is situated strategically between Arusha and Moshi towns – hubs of the northern tourism circuit.



Over 10,000 Maasai villagers march against KIA expansion

27th March 2014 (Guardian)

Passengers move to the waiting room at Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Over 10,000 villagers from the Maasai pastoralist communities in Hai District of Kilimanjaro Region, on Tuesday marched against new expansion plans at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

Protesters also blocked the main road getting into the airport causing inconveniences to users of the facility.

They were protesting against the government’s plan to relocate them from their land to pave way for the new expansion of the airport.

Carrying placards with different messages, the villagers asked the Tanzanian government to call off the plan. Protesters used big stones and logs to block the road, though later the blockage was removed.

“We have been ordered to get out of the area, despite the fact that we have been here for more than 50 years,” said Elias Kilosu, one of the villagers living in KIA village which is close to the airport and he took part in the protest.

“To us this is very unfair and we ask the government to rescind the plan,” he said.

Novatus Makunga, the Hai District commissioner, called on villagers to go back to their respective areas.   “These are mere rumours, the government has no such plan of relocating them from their respective areas,” Makunga said.

A team of experts from the ministries of Transport and Local Government are working on the proposed expansion but not to the extent of relocating people, he said, adding that the villagers have been living in those areas since the 1970s and they already have title deeds.

“KIA expansion plan started in 1980s, so I don’t see the reason for people to worry about. They are living there legally,” he said.

The Netherlands government had already dished out 15 million euros to support the KIA’s planned rehabilitation and expansion plans.

The support is intended to rehabilitate KIA’s aprons, taxiways and the terminal building to efficiently handle expected increase in passengers over the coming 20 years.

Upon completion of the project, KIA will attract more international flights and help boost the growing tourism industry.


Land dispute stalls airport expansion

By ADAM IHUCHA Special Correspondent (The East African)

May 3 2014

● The $47 million makeover plan covers refurbishment of all runways, taxiways and passenger lounges.

● The project, among other developments under the new airports integrated master plan, faces opposition from a group of residents who claim ownership of the land on which the project is to be undertaken.

A land dispute threatens Tanzania’s plans to expand the Kilimanjaro International Airport. The $47 million makeover plan covers refurbishment of all runways, taxiways and passenger lounges.

But the project, among other developments under the new airports integrated master plan, faces opposition from a group of residents who claim ownership of the land on which the project is to be undertaken.

“We are called squatters, but the airport found us in this area,” said KIA ward leader Sinyok Ole Nairuko.  He said that about 10,000 residents in Tindigani, Mtakuja, Sanya Station and Majengo villages would be affected, should a planned eviction be carried out to pave the way for the airport’s renovation.

Data shows that nearly 9,000 acres of the total 23,000 acres designated for the airport’s expansion are occupied — threatening the safety of the airport.

Officials say that thousands of local residents, from both districts of Arumeru in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions, have illegally settled at the airport estate.


In 2002, the Kilimanjaro Development Company (Kadco) estimated that Tsh480 million ($300,000), was needed to compensate the squatters.

But the government said the amount was too high. Kadco’s new master plan aims to convert the 110 square kilometre area around KIA into a modern duty-free shopping city that would compete with Dubai.

The KIA area, strategically placed between Arusha and Moshi towns — hubs of the northern tourism circuit — is to become a “city” where investors are to establish shopping centres, tourist hotels, duty free shops, export processing zones, curio shops, golf courses and a large game ranch.



Dutch to fund $36.4 million Kilimanjaro Airport facelift

4 January 2012 (Airport World Online)

Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) is to receive US$36.4 million from the Netherlands to help fund a renovation project aimed at increasing airport capacity, Airport World Online has reported.

The money will be used to upgrade and expand the terminal building and to overhaul and resurface the runway, taxiways and aprons.

A new taxiway is also planned in order to accommodate the increase in tourists visiting Northern Tanzania.

According to Airport World Online, the grant is part of the Netherlands’ ‘Facility for Infrastructure Development’ or ORIO programme and will cover the development phase of the rehabilitation project.

Under the supervision of Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO), the operator of the gateway, the Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO) will prepare the designs for the renovation and expansion of the airport.

The design phase is due to start this month and will cost an estimated US$581,248, which will be financed wholly by ORIO. Once this stage is completed, the Dutch government will provide a second grant covering 50% of the refurbishment costs, with the other 50% being provided by KADCO from airport revenues.

Tendering and construction works are expected to take place in 2013/2014.



See also

Tanzania: The Bone of Contention in Kia Land Dispute

21 April 2014



KIA borders: Elders reject ministry officials, want Pinda team

By The guardian reporter

16th November 2014


KIA upgrading set to boost tourism promo initiatives

19th December 2011