Arusha Airport is an important gateway to Tanzania’s northern circuit, which includes several world-famous national parks and game reserves. The airport’s expansion project will not only improve connectivity but also enhance the overall travel experience for passengers.

With its modern facilities and services, Arusha Airport is a key player in Tanzania’s aviation industry. The airport’s strategic location, combined with its excellent facilities and services, make it an attractive option for both domestic and international travelers.

As the airport continues to grow and expand, it is poised to play an even greater role in the development of Tanzania’s tourism industry and the country’s economy as a whole.

Arusha Airport (IATA: ARK, ICAO: HTAR) is a domestic airport located on the western side of Arusha City, the capital of the Arusha Region of Tanzania. It is a hidden gem that has recently undergone a major expansion, including a new apron and terminal building. The airport is classified as a code 3C airport as per ICAO standards and is among the 59 airports managed, maintained, and operated under Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA). It is the gateway to the famous Serengeti National Park and the starting point for many safaris in Northern Tanzania. In this article, we will explore the history and current state of Arusha Airport.


Arusha Airport was built in the year 1956 by Colonel Grey, a big farmer cultivating coffee and sorghum in the area of Burka and Mateves. After Tanganyika’s independence in the year of 1961, the airport was officially handed over to the government. The airport was run under East African Airways, and after the breakdown of the East African community in 1977, the airport was handed over to the Agricultural department called KILIMO HANGER to run the airport.

The inception of Tanzania Airports Authority in the year 1999 as an executive agency mandated to operate and run all government airports and airstrips within Tanzania’s mainland. Currently, the airport is managed by the airport manager who is also responsible for monitoring and managing the Loliondo airstrip.

Location and Features

Arusha Airport is located approximately 7km (4NM) from Arusha City Centre, making it very accessible. The airport is at 4567 feet above mean sea level, having an average temperature of 23ᵒC. The Arusha non-directional beacon (Ident: AR) is located at the west end of the field.

The current runway is 1860 meters long and 30 meters wide, with an orientation of 09 and 27, PCN 15/F/B/Y/T after the completion of the extension of the runway project which makes a total of 1860 meters long and its turning pads at both ends. The airport has five taxiways; Taxiway A, B, C, D, and P (parallel taxiway), which have a 500-meter length and 7.5-meter width joining the remote apron, runway 09, and taxiway “A.”


The expansion project at Arusha Airport started in 2019 with the construction of a new apron and terminal building. The new terminal building will have modern facilities to cater to the increasing number of passengers using the airport. The airport’s expansion project aims to increase the airport’s capacity to handle larger aircraft and more passengers.

Airlines and Destinations

Arusha Airport operates as domestic only, and several airlines operate in and out of the airport. Some of the airlines that operate at the airport include:

  • Air Tanzania
  • Coastal Aviation
  • Auric Air
  • Regional Air
  • ZanAir

The airport serves several destinations in Tanzania, including:

  • Dar es Salaam
  • Zanzibar
  • Kilimanjaro International Airport
  • Seronera Airstrip
  • Manyara Airstrip
  • Ndutu Airstrip

Services and Facilities

Arusha Airport offers several services and facilities to ensure that passengers have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Some of the services and facilities include:


The airport has a parking lot that can accommodate several vehicles.

Baggage Handling

Arusha Airport has baggage handling services to ensure that passengers’ luggage is handled with care.

Facilities and Services

Arusha airport offers a range of facilities and services to ensure a comfortable and convenient experience for travelers. The airport’s terminal building features a departure lounge, check-in counters, and customs and immigration facilities. Passengers can also find a small selection of shops and restaurants at the airport.

Additionally, the airport has a VIP lounge, which provides a more exclusive and comfortable experience for passengers who require it. The lounge offers complimentary refreshments, newspapers, and Wi-Fi.

Arusha airport also provides a range of ground handling services, including baggage handling, fueling, and aircraft maintenance services. The airport has a modern apron, which can accommodate up to three aircraft at the same time. Furthermore, the airport has a helipad for medical emergencies or other critical situations.

Expansion Plans

In response to the increasing demand for air travel to and from Arusha, the airport is currently undergoing a major expansion project. The project includes the construction of a new apron and terminal building, as well as the extension of the runway and taxiways.

The new terminal building will be a modern facility that is designed to provide passengers with a more comfortable and convenient experience. The building will feature state-of-the-art technology and amenities, including self-check-in kiosks, free Wi-Fi, and duty-free shops.

The expansion of the runway and taxiways will allow larger aircraft to operate at the airport, which will increase the airport’s capacity and improve connectivity. The expansion project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Airline Operators

Arusha airport serves several domestic airlines, including Air Tanzania, Auric Air, Coastal Aviation, and Flightlink. These airlines offer regular flights to several destinations across Tanzania, including Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Serengeti, and Kilimanjaro.

  • Air Tanzania is the flag carrier airline of Tanzania and operates daily flights between Arusha and Dar es Salaam. The airline also offers flights to other domestic and international destinations, including Johannesburg and Mumbai.
  • Auric Air is a privately-owned airline that operates scheduled and charter flights to several destinations across Tanzania, including the Serengeti and Zanzibar. The airline operates a fleet of Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, which are ideal for short-haul flights.
  • Coastal Aviation is a leading safari airline that operates flights to several destinations across Tanzania, including the Serengeti, Selous Game Reserve, and Ruaha National Park. The airline operates a fleet of Cessna Grand Caravan and Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.
  • Flightlink is a Tanzanian airline that operates scheduled flights to several destinations across Tanzania, including Zanzibar, Pemba Island, and Serengeti. The airline also offers charter flights and helicopter services.


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