17 November 2012

Tanzania: TCAA Steps in to Rescue Local Pilots

LOCAL pilots who do not meet the minimum required conditions to fly passenger aircraft will soon be able to make it, as Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) is negotiating with airlines to accommodate them.

TCAA Director General, Mr Fadhili Manongi said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that most local pilots are shunned by airlines because they do not have the required 300 minimum flying hours.

"We are talking to airlines to allow our local pilots gain experience to qualify as passenger plane pilots," Mr Manongi said. The TCAA chief defended his authority against criticism from local pilots who had alleged that corruption has given leeway to student pilots from Europe (France and Spain), Asia (India) and Kenya to take up training slots offered by local airlines, to qualify as passenger plane pilots.

Mr Manongi said it would be inappropriate for any TCAA employee to collude with local airlines to favour foreign student pilots, adding that most of them get full time employment locally or abroad.

He said residence and work permits are issued by the Department of Immigration and Ministry of Labour respectively.

"We only issue licences, not permits. If TRA gives someone a taxpayer certificate after registering them, does it mean they have given them a job?" Mr Manongi asked, saying licensing of foreign pilots by TCAA was not endorsement for someone to be given a job.

He advised anyone who has evidence of corruption against TCAA officers to submit it to his office or report the matter to Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau for action. Recently, 23 unemployed pilots who are members of Professional Association of Tanzanian Pilots (PATP), called on Transport Minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe to rescue the industry from foreign domination.

PATP Secretary General, Khalil Iqbal told 'Daily News on Saturday' that employment in the local aviation industry which is dominated by Precision Air, is skewed in foreign pilots direction. "Some 60 per cent of pilots flying passenger planes in the country are foreign, 40 per cent are locals, of whom only 20 per cent are at work currently," Mr Iqbal pointed out.

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