The Minister for Works, Transport and Communication Isaac Kamwelwe stated that Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) was due to start serving routes to India and China by the end of this month and early June, respectively.
The minister stated that the Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister, Palamagamba Kabudi is currently in talks with the two countries over the mater.
He noted that by the end of this month, both ministries will have completed the required procedures and become ready to fly to the two countries. This was all said when the minister was officiating at the graduation ceremony for the first batch of a cabin crew course at the National Institute of Transport (NIT). Efforts are underway to start training pilots at the institute, a move which can save money that the government has been spending on training experts abroad. Preparations to start this training are at an advanced stage, including setting up infrastructure including classrooms.
Air transport is the most preferred method of access to Tanzania for international visitors, making the sector important and heavily relied upon. By 2016, there were 21 airlines operating at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam, the country`s largest and busiest airport, and also in process to purchase five trainer aircrafts as they wait to obtain accreditation from the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA).
A program to revitalize Air Tanzania began two years ago with the government purchasing six new aircraft, up to late last year, paying ATCL debts and proving further startup capital. President Magufuli said the funds and planes were loans the government has extended to ATCL. Air Tanzania has vast plans to grow across the region, in Africa as well as destinations in the Far East and elsewhere. The once ailing airline is now bracing to participate in a competitive commercial environment with the president stating that if it doesn’t generate profit, the government will lease the planes to another carrier.
Air Tanzania was established Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) in September 1977 after the collapse of the regional carrier, East African Airways. The airline has since then been operating at a loss and reliant on government subsidies.