14 January 2013

Tanzania: ATCL to Resume Kigoma Flights On Friday

AIR Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) is expected to resume Kigoma flights on Friday, as the spares for the wrecked screen are expected on Wednesday, the ATCL Acting Chief Executive Officer Captain Milton Lazaro has said.

Mr Lazaro told the 'Daily News' over the phone that Dash 8-300 plane suffered a crack on its front screen on Saturday, shortly after it had taken off from Kigoma Airport. He said that the mishap which forced the pilot to make an emergency landing at the same airport was an ordinary thing that happens more often in the aviation sector.

"Some people are trying to blow this issue out of proportion but it is normal for a plane to get such a crack while on air," he said. He noted that it was unfortunate that the accident occurred over the weekend and the spare has already been ordered from the United States.

"It is not easy to place an order because the incident occurred over the weekend, but we expect to have the spares delivered here by Thursday from US and we will hopefully resume Kigoma flights on Friday," he said. He apologized for the inconvenience caused by the incident to customers, but added that ATCL continues with daily flights between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza using its Boeing plane.

Commenting on the news that the ATCL would receive an investment of 100 million US dollars (about 160bn/-) from an Omani investment consortium, Mr Lazaro said the deal was still at its infancy, promising to give more information in a near future.

The funds are expected to go a long way towards the ailing national career's revival plans. "We are yet to meet the investor and agree on various issues before we make agreement but the deal is real and is a result of President Jakaya Kikwete's tour to Oman last year," he said.

The Chairman of Al Hayat Development and investment Company, Sheikh Salim Al Harthy, said in a statement over the weekend that he believes in economic collaboration between Tanzania and Oman. "As part of this commitment, we (Omani Consortium) intend to sign an agreement with Air Tanzania to invest 100 million dollars and lead a consortium of other investors that we have close relations with," he said.

Mr Lazaro was quoted late last year saying plans were underway to purchase two big planes that would be used to serve the international routes, naming Dubai as among the potential destinations. "We are a national carrier, we need to keep this national status by providing services that meet our status and customer expectations.

We have been able to scrutinize challenges that have been facing the company and found possible solutions," he said. "Our challenge now is to focus on reviving the reputation of the company. We are planning to buy more planes but also enter into joint-ventures with reputable airlines to increase our fleet," he added.

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