Rains of biblical proportions hit the lake side municipality of Mwanza late Sunday into Monday, forcing the airport management to eventually cancel all flight operations in and out of Mwanza as a result of flooded runways, taxiways and aprons. Affected were a number of flights, with in particular the ATR aircraft based in Mwanza by Precision Air unable to carry out the scheduled flights to a number of destination served by this plane, while other airlines due to land in Mwanza from Dar es Salaam and Arusha / Kilimanjaro had to abandon their scheduled flights also.
Reportedly hundreds of passengers across Tanzania, with destination Mwanza, as well as passengers trying to fly out of Mwanza, were stranded without recourse as airline personnel was unable to give details when operations would resume.
A source in Arusha, in apparent contact with passengers from Mwanza, also mentioned that a river near the Mwanza airport had burst its banks as a result of too much rain in recent days, adding to the problems the airport managers already faced in protecting vital installation such as underground power lines from irreversible damages.
Mwanza is one of the airports earmarked for expansion and modernization by the Tanzanian government and it is clear, after this latest flooding, that urgent work is required to avoid future floods and cutting of Mwanza from the rest of the country. Further rains forecast are adding further doubts over a full return to flight operations at Mwanza and any passengers intending to fly to or from Mwanza are advised to stay in contact with their respective airlines, or the airport information office, for updates on the resumption of flights.
Compiled by Jackie