Chiamaka Ihekwoaba

Chiamaka Ihekwoaba

Air Tanzania to begin Cross-Continental Flights

Tanzania is revamping its one-time struggling national carrier, Air Tanzania Company Limited after investing in new Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner jets and introducing its first Cross-Continental flights in September.  This first attempt of the national flag carrier at seeking wider markets beyond Africa will begin with the pre-scheduled three-times a week flight to India’s largest city, Mumbai after it receives the jets next month.

The airline stated that it was in a final preparation to welcome the Dreamliner from the manufacturer as it revamps itself to beat the competition in Africa from fellow key players including Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

“We have done a number of market research and seen it’s a lucrative route…There are a number of challenges, but we are also geared to those challenges as well since there is no route that has no competitions,” said Air Tanzania’s Commercial and Business Development Director, Patrick Ndekana.

Ndekana further noted that in Mumbai, there is enough traffic ranging from medical tourists to businesspeople hence the three days scheduled flight to the country. “There are a number of tourists from India coming to Tanzania. A direct flight will simplify flying between the two countries,” Hinting that the route may also open forward booking doors beyond Mumbai.

It would be recalled that in June, Finance and Planning Minister Philip Mpango said Air Tanzania will acquire three new aircraft in the 2018/2019 financial year to add to the current fleet of four jets. Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner is one of the three.

Rwanda Air and Air Tanzania in 2014 had a serious dispute over Mumbai-India route. A dispute that required bilateral agreements to maintain cordial relations between the two countries, however, Rwanda’s national carrier, RwandAir beat Air Tanzania to Mumbai route.

The national carrier plans to fly three times a week to Bujumbura, Burundi through Kigoma and four times a week via Kilimanjaro to Entebbe, Uganda as it looks to cater for the growing demand of its services. The Bujumbura and Entebbe flights are expected to start in November using bombardiers CS 300, with the capacity to carry some 190 passengers.

Domestically, Air Tanzania has enjoyed great results and performances. The company is yet to replicate a stellar record beyond borders and outside the continent.