28 July 2012

Tanzania: Kikwete Calls for Investment in Local Flying School

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete challenged the Ministry of Transport and Airline corporations to build a flying school in the country.

President Kikwete said this in Dar es Salaam when officially opening a state-of-the-art hangar worth about 9bn/-for the privately owned Precision Air Services at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA).

President Kikwete said that the time was ripe for the ministry and airline organizations to seriously think about investing in aviation training in the country.

He noted that there are efforts by the East African Member States to try and revive the East African Civil Aviation Academy in Soroti, Uganda, but the efforts are yet to yield a positive outcome.

"The Flying school in Soroti is the only other aviation school that we have.

We are still discussing how to revive it as EAC members but we are still not at a good footing yet. Having flying school in the country now will be a good move," he explained.

President Kikwete said the government recognizes Precision Air's contribution towards the development of the country, noting that using the hangar will create job opportunities as well as provide practical trainings to trainees in the country.

He advised Precision Air to liaise with other stakeholders to know the kind of training required to the young trainees who will be trained at the hangar.

The Precision Air hangar has been designed to meet all the maintenance, repair and overhaul requirements and regulation for the airline, which means the airline's fleet of 16 aircraft will not be maintained outside the country as before, thus, reducing costs and time.

Dr Kikwete called to Precision Air to maintain International maintenance standards to uphold a good reputation at the International level. "You must ensure International standards of maintenance are upheld, so that more International planes get their maintenance done here," he explained.

He said the airline's decision to work with Aviation Training Relocation (ATR) will also increase the airline's credibility to other international airlines, which will be using the hangar.He said Precision Air is the only Tanzanian owned Airline serving International routes including South Africa, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He also hailed the move by Precision Air to sell its shares to the public through the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE), saying this is an exemplary move that needs to be emulated by other family owned companies.

Earlier, Precision Air Board Chairperson and founder Mr Michael Shirima said the sale of shares did not yield the envisaged amount of funds, noting that they are planning to get more funds from the International Finance Cooperation.

Mr Shirima also noted that the hangar which took two years to build will improve the airline services and cut down on maintenance costs and save the country foreign currency spent in having the airline's fleet maintained outside the country.

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