Following a series of damaging revelations about Air Tanzania Corporation, Ltd. (ATCL) in recent weeks, and in the wake of the crash landing of their remaining B737-200, things could not really get much worse, or could they? Now the staff is taking their grievances to parliament, complaining that their pay is bad and that their working conditions are poor. Consider this, however, the airline now has ONE turboprop plane remaining, according to sources in Dar es Salaam, continues, however, to support more than 180 staff on their payroll, with no significant revenue coming in, while they owe mega money to travel agents, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and other suppliers, and appears to be between 40 and 50 billion Tanzania shillings in the red.
The parliamentary committee on infrastructure looking into the cash-starved national airline also appears bewildered when the fact became known, and predictably asked for yet another report from the board of directors, whose mandate, however, also appears to have expired some time ago, adding more questions than answers.
Should no financial investor be found very soon, and with the circumstances mentioned above this is less and less likely now, government will face a stark choice of either throwing more good money after the bad one of before or else finally pulling the plug on ATCL, painful as it may be, and leave the aviation sector to the private sector players like Precision Air, Fly 540 Tanzania, and a range of other airlines, all of whom now ARE the mail players and stakeholders in the Tanzanian skies, leaving ATCL almost as bystanders on the ground.