Air Tanzania eyes more regional, international routes

THE Air Tanzania Company limited (ATCL) is looking forward to expanding its flights outside the country by introducing new routes to various destinations within and outside Africa.

A list of destinations that are in the radars of the national airline carrier has London in the United Kingdom (UK), Middle East countries especially Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Muscat in Oman.

ATCL Managing Director, Ladislaus Matindi said here that the company is also planning to introduce routes to West African destinations such as Accra (in Ghana) and Lagos (in Nigeria), Juba (in South Sudan) and Lilongwe in Malawi.

Speaking during a workshop, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Eng Matindi said the national carrier is also looking forward to reintroducing routes to Johannesburg in South Africa and increasing flights to Kinshasa in DRC.

Speaking of the achievements that have been recorded so far, Eng Matindi said there is an increase in the number of passengers to a monthly average of 90,000 from 4,000 in 2016.

“Also, the volume of cargo that is being airlifted has increased to a monthly average of 300 tonnes from 5 tonnes that were recorded in 2016,” he said.

Moreover, ATCL has managed to enter into partnership with other global airlines such as Qatar Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airline, Oman Air and Air India.

“A number of local destinations have increased to 15 from three while international destinations are now 11 from one of 2016,” noted Eng Matindi.

Due to this, the company has managed to increase its monthly revenue from 700/- to 30bn/-, and expanded its market share to 57 per cent from 2.4 per cent of the year 2016.

He also informed the parliamentarians of ATCL’s success story on establishment of its own workshop that is capable of servicing all the Aircrafts as a result saving 166,400 US dollars that would have been spent if the planes were to be sent outside the country.

There is also an improvement in a number of working staff as the firm now has 106 pilots from the previous 11, as well as 129 engineers compared to 27 of the year 2016.

“105 pilots are Tanzanians and the remaining one is a Mozambican,” he said, noting further that the majority of Engineers are Tanzanians also.

“This shows how Tanzania has advanced in the air transport sector as we have also managed to train pilots and cabin crews of Air Senegal,” noted the ATCL boss.

Currently, the government – owned airline has a fleet of 12 aircrafts such as one Dash 8-Q300, five Dash8-Q400, four Airbus a 220-300 and two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.

Before the end of this year, ATCL is expecting to add to its fleet one Dash8-Q400, two Boeing 737 Max -9, one Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and one Boeing 767 Freighter.

“Despite these achievements, we are facing a number of challenges, including high cost of operation, government debt and high costs that are caused by lease contracts between ATCL and Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA),” he told the parliament committee.

So far, ATCL is operating 15 local destinations and 11 others outside Tanzania.

A list of local destinations has Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Mwanza, Mbeya, Mtwara, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Kigoma, Zanzibar, Kigoma, Bukoba, Mpanda, Songea, Iringa and Tabora.

Regional and international destinations of ATCL are Lubumbashi (DRC), Ndola and Lusaka (Zambia), Nairobi (Kenya), Bujumbura (Burundi), Comoros, Harare Zimbabwe and Entebbe (Uganda), Guangzhou (China) and Mumbai in India.

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