ATCL resumes flights on Friday

ATCL resumes flights on Friday


ATCL, which resumes flights today after being out of service for over a month due to its Bombardier Dash 8-300 crash when taking off at Kigoma airport, has slashed fares by almost one-third of the market rates. 

However, industry sources have played down the move that they have described as the airline’s short-term strategy to capture the market share with no much effect in the market, in the long run. 

The airline announced yesterday that a return tickets for Dar-Mwanza and Dar-Kilimanjaro routes cost 199,000/- while the single ticket goes for 136,000/- as flights resume today using the newly wet leased Boeing 737-500—that means the leasing of aircraft, pilots, cabin crew and maintenance. 

ATCL’s acting Director General Paul Chizi said yesterday: “We will be flying daily during morning and evening…and I call on our customers to keep on trusting us as we are now set to serve them better.”  Fly540 charges 215,000/- for return ticket to Dar-Mwanza route and 302,000/- for Dar-Kilimanjaro, while Precision Air charges 250,000/- for Dar-Mwanza route and 340,000/- for Dar-Kilimanjaro.  

The national airline lowered the fares to woo back passengers in the Dar-Mwanza route that is highly competitive and dominated by Fly540 while Precision Air, listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange controls the Dar-Kilimanjaro route.  Fly540 General Manager Brown Francis told the ‘Daily News’ over the phone yesterday that the ATC’s move is normal in the industry when an airline wants to capture the market. 

“It will affect other airlines in a near future as passengers will be pulled by the lower price, but not in a long run as quality of service matters most,” Mr Francis said.  He added: “We have our own strategies but are not for lowering prices. Our prices at the market are very fair, rather competitive.” 

Fly540 flies three times a day to Mwanza and two times a day to Kilimanjaro while Precision Air flies four-times a day to Mwanza and seven-times a day to Kilimanjaro.   Precision Air acting Commercial Director, Mr Patrick Ndekana said the ATCL prices will surely affect their business but doubted their sustainability.  “I don’t think the (price) will last longer,” Mr Ndekana said.

Precision Air is the leading airline in the country with a fleet of 13 aircrafts and is owned by local shareholders by almost 30 per cent.  An airline analyst said the prices are unrealistic as flying to and from Mwanza the craft burned 9000 US dollars (over 14m/-) worth of fuel without taking into consideration the wet leasing, landing and other running costs. 

“The price (ATCL) will only be sustainable if the airline receives subsidies from the government,” he said, “Otherwise it’s just a market capturing gimmick, with a short life span.”   ATCL plans to introduce flights to Lusaka, Zambia, Harare, Zimbabwe, Mtwara and Comoro Island before heading to Dubai in August this year. 

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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