April 08, 2021

Remote island's sole airport upgrade improves critical infrastructure

A hidden gem in eastern Tanzania, Songo Songo is a small island of only four km2 and 3,500 inhabitants.

A hidden gem in eastern Tanzania, Songo Songo is a small island of only four km2 and 3,500 inhabitants.

The remote destination is serviced by the lone Songo Songo airport, which is also essential to the region's critical gas production. Gas is pumped to Dar Es Salaam, where it is converted into electricity. The airport is also used for emergency evacuation purposes and to fly patients to Dar es Salaam for advanced medical services. Without the option of air travel, the only means of transport available to communities on Songo Songo Island (locally known as Mashua) to reach Dar es Salaam is local boats, generally a two-day journey.

SMEC was engaged on a project to upgrade vital airport assets. Our role comprised detailed design, preparation of tender documents, assistance with the tender process, supervision and overall project management of upgrades to the runway, apron and taxiway of the Songo Songo airstrip.

Services included:

  • supervising patch repair to the runway and application of single surface dressing to 19,452m2 of runway;
  • mobilisation of plant, materials and labour to the Songo Songo island location;
  • removal of existing broken surface dressing and a double surface dressing to 3,500m2 of taxiway and apron, and
  • road markings to enable safe landing and take-off.

The recently completed project received a glowing review from our client and aircraft operators, who noted that significant improvements to the airstrip and more visible road markings have contributed to safer aircraft operation.

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