Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) is the largest and the busiest International Airport in Tanzania, located in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. The airport is one of the 58 government owned airports and airstrips, operated, developed and managed by Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA). JNIA is about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) southwest of the city. The airport was formally known as Dar es Salaam International Airport (DIA) before it was renamed in 2006 in honor of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the first President of the United Republic of Tanzania who died in 1999. The airport saves flights to and from different destinations including Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Currently there are two terminals, terminal one and terminal two. The government is constructing terminal three (TB III) which will be the largest terminal at JNIA with a capacity of handling up to 6,000,000 passengers annually.
The Sea-Port and Mkeje Aerodrome
According to tradition, it not easy to find scripts that can verify accurately the date of the first airport. However, few available scripts show the first airport of the city of Dar es Salaam was a "sea port". This compound was on the part of the sea between the Ferry to the beach next to the Cathedral of St. Joseph. The passenger Building (Terminal) was nearby and Ardhi House. The airport was developed during during colonial period, and was later on moved to Kilwa Road near the National Stadium and changed its name to Mkeje Aerodrome. At Kilwa road, the airport situated between the place where the Headquarters of the National Housing and MWL exhibition grounds (Saba-Saba Grounds). Mgulani Military Base area was also part of airport area and until today if one can look carefully, pieces of the taxiway and apron pavement can be seen in this area. Many people have been learning to drive cars in the area, before existing institutions were built.
Due to the development of the aviation industry in East Africa, the Dar-es-salaam aerodrome was found to be insufficient. Expansion of the aerodrome was also not feasible because of unfavourable geographical features like high altitude in the immediate vicinity, dense coconut vegetation and swampy land. In addition, a considerable number of local people had already settled around the airport. It was therefore decided to shift the airport to a new location thus Ukonga was chosen as the new location for the aerodrome.
Site clearing and construction commenced in 1951 and by October 1954 the airport was officially opened to business. This part of the airport is what is today Terminal One currently used for General Aviation.
In the early 80s plans to expand the aerodrome commenced and on October 1984 the airport was officially opened by the First Tanzania President - Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere. The expansion involved the addition of infrastructure and facilities that increased its capacity to 1,500,000 passengers and 30,000 tons of cargo annually.
Current Status and Future Outlook
Given its favorable geographical location, with links to all other modes of transportation-sea, rail and road, the future outlook for JNIA for being the center of business for the region is ideal.
There are a number of investment opportunities that exist. The airport stands to harness all these opportunities in order to develop it to the level that will benefit the whole region.