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Potential of local air transport sector unveiled

AIR travelers number has rapidly increased after Air Tanzania Company Limited deployed its Boeing 787- 8 Dreamliner for domestic routes unmasking the great potential of domestic air transport.

ATCL newly acquired wide-body aircraft, with seating capacity of 262 passengers, flies twice a day from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza via Kilimanjaro meaning 1,000 seats have been added to the route.

Reports show flights to Mwanza, a fast developing air transport hub in the East Africa's region, are full-booked indicating a rapid growing demand for domestic air travelling in Tanzania.

“The demand is there. The problem was that there were no enough seats on offer in the market," said ATCL Head of Public Relations Josephat Kagirwa in an interview.

“Our market shares for this month will surely climb up since we have put to the market extra 1000 seats in addition to the previous ones,” he said.

He said simple calculation shows that Dreamliner is flying 70 per cent full meaning the aircraft carries some 200 passengers per flight. He said since the inaugural promotion flight in 29th July the Dreamliner is flying on average 200 passengers per flight.

The airline flies three times daily to Mwanza and has added a morning flight to Kilimanjaro. The country air-market is dominated by three scheduled airlines—Air Tanzania, Precision Air and Fastjet. Some analysts believe that airlines were hesitating to supply more seats on the market fearing flying empty cabins.

However, the coming of ATCL’s Dreamliner has revealed that there are more passengers than earlier predicted. fastjet, a low cost carrier, this week announced that it would introduce three ATR-72 aircraft in the market between now and end of next month to capitalise on increase seats demand countrywide.

The airline’s Public Relations and Marketing Executive, Lucy Mbogoro said the introduction of planes was timely as the airline plans to add more routes in the country. “There is strong market demand for passengers’ flights due to increased number of traffic that pushed the airline to capitalise on the opportunity by increasing the number of planes and routes,” she said.

Ms Mbogoro said the introduction of ATRs, with capacity of 78 seats each, will allow fastjet to increase the number of flights per day to three where it has only one. She said currently fastjet has daily flights to Mwanza from Dar es Salaam four times, to Kilimanjaro three times, to Mbeya two times as well as Lusaka and Harare three times a week.

Also fastjet said they are planning to launch additional routes in both Tanzania and Mozambique late this year with South Africa, as a new market, firmly on their radar. Precision Air (PW), the largest airline in term of fleet size, flies more destinations compared to fastjet and Air Tanzania.

PW flies to 14 destinations, while ATCL plying 10 routes and fastjet three local routes and four regional destinations.

AIR Tanzania future looks bright ...

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Author: ABDUEL ELINAZA

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