Booking flights this week to Kigoma was a bit complicated, especially since Precision Air – the only airline serving that airport – suddenly cancelled all flights to/from Kigoma until further notice. Staff at Precision couldn’t tell me why, though we assume it’s to do with the runway which is unpaved, and has already caused accidents – a plane a few months back had a bit of a crash landing when 3 tyres burst on impact. It’s dry season now, so it’s at least possible to land, not always the case during rainy season.
In the meantime, we’ve all been mildly amused/concerned by the revelation that the only radar at the country’s main airport in Dar es Salaam hasn’t been working since the beginning of August. Without that radar, used for managing air traffic, “air traffic controllers are reduced to relying on guesswork, which is very dangerous”. (Hmm, I think you can land…. now!) The reason it failed in the first place is, surprise surprise, problems with the power supply.
Back on land, we also hear that six goods trains on the TAZARA (Tanzania-Zambia) railway have been stuck for nearly two weeks while waiting for diesel. This was also what – apparently – delayed us on our trip last week, though we got off lightly, with a mere seven-hour wait for fuel.
No wonder that power supply and infrastructure are consistently cited as the biggest obstacles to doing business in this country. Wonder how the nascent gas industry will impact this over the next decades?