ATCL extends wings

DAR ES SALAAM: THE government has continued with its aggressive efforts to uplift the aviation sector in the country and the arrival of a brand-new aircraft for Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) yesterday will further boost the initiative.

The aircraft, Boeing 737- 9 Max with a capacity to carry 181 passengers, brings the number of the country’s airline fleet to 15.

It touched down at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal One in Dar es Salaam at 2:20 PM.

It cruised from Seattle, the United State of America via Dakar, Senegal marshalled by two pilots, Mr Herman Mushi and Mr Mohammed Mbaruku.

On board was ATCL’s Managing Director, Engineer Ladislaus Matindi and other crew members.

Speaking during the colourful reception to usher in the new plane, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa underlined the government’s deliberate commitment on continuing to strengthen ATCL and the aviation sector as key catalysts for economic growth.

“The aviation sector is very important for development of our country, as it guarantees economic advancement. Globally, development of the economy has been influenced by the presence of a stable transport system, which boosts investment, protect capital and strengthen communication among traders and other service providers” Mr Majaliwa said.

The PM said the rise in number of passenger and cargo volume allows the country’s airline to extend its domestic and international routes to serve more people, boost business and the entire economic production value chain, including agriculture.

He said the existence of passenger and cargo aircrafts has enabled farmers of perishable agricultural products such as vegetable and avocados, fishery and livestock to reach the domestic and international markets on time.

“The presence of more aircrafts will continue to diversify business opportunities across all sectors… the government is set to add more planes,” Mr Majaliwa said.

In that regard, he said the transport sector is critical in per capital income and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

He said the government recognises the quest of having a vibrant economy by putting in place required infrastructure, including airports, roads and railway, aligning the commitment of the ruling party’s CCM Election Manifesto 2020/2025 rooted in improving livelihoods.

He said currently the government is undertaking major renovation of the JNIA Terminal 2, which upon completion will be destined as ATCL terminal, to cater for the Eastern and Southern Africa markets.

Furthermore, he said the government is undertaking various airport construction projects in other regions, including Dodoma, Kigoma and Shinyanga, saying the plan is to ensure most parts of the country are accessible through air transport.

ATCL’s Managing Director, Eng Matindi noted that the addition in the number of planes to the country’s airline has inspired many customers to prefer flying than ever before, saying previously air transport was considered a luxury.

Eng Matindi said as a result of the increase in the number of aircraft in the last Fiscal Year (2022/2023), ATCL carried over 1 million passengers compared to only 160, 000 passengers in 2016/2017 FY, when the fifth phase government engineered its revival.

He said so far, the airline serves 81 per cent of the local market. To further penetrate into the international market, he said with addition of the new plane, ATCL will extend its routes to Logos, Nigeria, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Juba in South Sudan.

Outside Africa, he said so far ATCL’s planes fly to China and India.

He hinted that from March 31st this year, ATCL will start flying to Dubai, with focus to introduce new routes in South Africa and the United Kingdom in the near future.

In another development, he said the cargo plane, Boeing 767-300 which was procured last year currently carries an average of 675 tonnes of cargo per month, serving both the local and international markets.

In an interview with the ‘Daily News’, he said so far the airline is performing well in serving the East Africa market.

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