(eTN) – The arrival of Air Tanzania’s Bombardier Q 300 turboprop aircraft from South Africa over the weekend, where it had been undergoing heavy maintenance since February but was only released after the Tanzanian government bailed out the financially ailing airline, has prompted an announcement that by the end of September, two destinations would be opened up again from Dar es Salaam. The airline said over the weekend that the aircraft would commence flights, all regulatory approvals in place by that time that is, which is by no means certain yet, to Tabora and Kigoma. Never shy of making full-mouthed statements, it was also revealed that within three years, Air Tanzania would once again “dominate” the domestic and regional market, a statement which left aviation observers frankly perplexed about their perception of reality.
Added information was also received that ATCL is apparently seeking to lease at least two CRJ 200 aircraft, sourced from within the region, to restore jet operations between such key routes as Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro/Arusha, Mwanza, and Zanzibar. This, according to the airline, will then eventually be followed by a return to regional routes, where, however, the airlines of neighboring countries like Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda now have the upper hand due to the long absence of ATCL from the routes to their capitals. Within Tanzania it is in particular Precision Air, due for an IPO soon – unless government finds another excuse to stall this exercise as has been seen in the past – which has taken over the marketshare previously held by Air Tanzania, by offering more destinations and a largely improved service delivery, while other domestic rivals like Fly540 have yet to make the big impact, which was expected of them.