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Government Pumps In More Money

Another revival for Air Tanzania

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Jun 27, 2011

(eTN) - "Not again" was the tenor of aviation observers in Tanzania, when news emerged from the parliamentary session in Dodoma, that government was once more pumping money into the airline to pay for the maintenance of one of Air Tanzania's (ATC) two planes, currently in South Africa for a complete overhaul.

The erstwhile national airline of Tanzania has not flown since February of this year, and until then with a single plane only, their second aircraft is also down with technical faults and due for major scheduled maintenance. More and more people in authority are beginning to question government’s wisdom about wanting to revive what quintessentially is now a totally failed public venture. Air Tanzania Corporation Limited is also in court with a number of debtors, having failed to clear debts several years old for tickets sold but never used when operations were suspended between Tanzania and South Africa, and have had their AOC suspended in the past over "documentary issues," whatever that can be interpreted as. The airline is also suspended from IATA.

While it is correct that the management of the company bears the responsibility for the steep decline, government must also accept blame for having let down the airline when failing to inject the funds required years ago to really have the airline take off again.

However, all this being in the past, attempts now to revive the airline in the face of stiff private sector competition by the likes of Precision Air, Fly 540 Tanzania, and others, is a next to impossible thing. The brightest aviation brains now work in the private sector where they are compensated according to their skills and abilities, and government will ever only attract the proverbial civil servants’ minds, generally unable to compete with the wizards of the skies which have shaped Precision Air into what that airline has become today, a quasi national airline, doing Tanzania proud and flying the flag to a growing number of domestic, regional, and international destinations.

Meanwhile though, opposition parliamentarians have also warned that they will oppose the waste of government funds while those responsible for wrecking the airline are getting off without penalty.

Another revival for Air Tanzania
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