Air Tanzania Company Limited’s (ATCL) cross-continental dream is nearer now than ever after the air company confirmed it would launch its maiden flight connecting Africa and Asia in February 2019. The air carrier confirmed the expansion plans during the China – Tourism Roadshow that began in Shanghai, China.
With the aviation industry getting competitive, airlines are setting objectives to remain at par in the game. Regionally, Air Tanzania has not performed as much as its fellow competitors in the industry but making necessary changes to have a better start next year.
The latest milestone of Tanzania’s national air carrier was in July this year when the company acquired its Boeing 787-8 to adds to its fleet of the existing three-strong Q400s that serve both the domestic and regional market. The Boeing 787-8 is tipped to make trips to Mumbai, London or Guangzhou with the former being a likely destination.
To sweeten the regional competition with Kenya Airways and RwandAir, Air Tanzania launched direct flights from Dar es Salaam to Entebbe and Bujumbura. Air Tanzania operates four-times-a week direct flight to Entebbe from Dar es Salaam and a three times a week flight to Bujumbura.
As Tanzania targets over 10,000 tourists from China, the availability of such transport network would spur the tourism sector. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) placed China as the top source of the tourism market in the world. The East Asian country could account for a quarter of all international tourism by 2030.
As it looks to expand its reach in Asia, Air Tanzania lines up another route launch in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand to operate next year as well. The expansion plan is due to Bangkok being the most populous city in Thailand, a factor that presents a business investment opportunity for the air carrier.
Air Tanzania will fly on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays, and that roundtrip fares will be $650 to Guangzhou and $700 to Bangkok. China and Tanzania have outstanding long partnership cemented in investments in various sectors.
According to the Chinese embassy in Dar es Salaam, Chinese investments in Tanzania reached $4 billion as of the year 2017, recording an increase of 40 percent. The figures are similar to Chinese investment in Ethiopia and Uganda as well, with infrastructure accounting for the massive intake.
The Dar – Guangzhou flight will increase the trade relations between Tanzania and China and open business opportunities for either party. As the air carrier seeking to spread its wings, this would be a better move at achieving its goals by reaping more revenues in its operations.
The airline narrowed its regional losses to $1.9 million in 2017, down from $6.2 million in 2016. The government of Tanzania has supported the revival of the national carrier to restore it to its former glory.