Zanzibar airport deal drama far from over

ACT Wazalendo, a party to the Government of National Unity in Zanzibar, on Friday faulted the awarding of Airport management contract to Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata) to operate the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport’s Terminal 3.

In November 2021, Dnata signed a contract with authorities in Zanzibar to provide ground handling services at newly built Terminal 3 at the airport. As part of the contract, two other Emirates’ subsidiaries, Emirates Leisure Retail and MMI will operate all 13 retailers and two lounges in the terminal. These include restaurant, duty free and commercial outlets.

Speaking at a news conference a week after President Hussein Ali Mwinyi defended the move, Mr Ismail Jussa, who is a top ACT Wazalendo leader, claimed that apart from being offered the contract, which involves exclusive rights to operate all duty free shops, lounges, restaurants and parking areas, the government will also be paying the company over $70,000 for consultation services.

According to the politician, the fact that Dnata has been given exclusive rights at Terminal 3, means that the current ground handlers ZAT and Transworld who have operated for the past one year at the newly built terminal will be forced to leave.

“The process of awarding the contract in this project in all its stages has all the hallmarks of twisting rules, regulations and procedures in a way that raises many questions of who exactly is giving that impetus and who is intended to benefit?” said Mr Jussa.

The two companies hold a Class II license and a concession agreement which was approved by the regulatory authority (TCAA) and ZAA, Dnata on the other hand is yet to sign a concession agreement with the regulatory authority.

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