15 February 2013

Tanzania: Precision Air Gets New Boss

PRECISION Air's new head on Thursday expressed optimism for the airline's operations, particularly increased cargo and passenger traffic in Tanzania and the regional market.

The new CEO, Ms Sauda Rajab (49), who takes over from Mr Alphonce Kioko, however, said although she has 23 years experience in aviation industry, she more time to assess the market. "Seeing the economic activities that are going on in Tanzania show how potential this market is to airline business.

"There is a lot of opportunities (from passengers to cargo) that is where our focus will be," Ms Rajab told journalists. Ms Rajab becomes the first lady airline CEO in the East African Community member states. Her predecessor, Mr Kioko, served the airline in the past 10 years.

Mr Kioko took over from the first CEO and founder Mr Michael Shirima who also piloted the airline for 10 years. The new CEO, joins from Kenya Airwayís where she was General Manager Cargo Operations. Ms Rajab takes over the airline at a time when competition is stiff after the arrival of the first serious low cost carrier, the FastJet since late last year.

However, Ms Rajab said she welcome competition as it enables players to look inwards and make changes that make them deliver better customer services and leaves them happy. "Competition creates new opportunities which were not there at the first place.

But we have our own niche which is different from budget airlines," Ms Rajab said when she was introduced to the media. The PW Chairman Mr Shirima said 20 candidates had applied for the job within and outside the country and were shortlisted to five but at the end of the day, Ms Rajab won.

"We did not consider neither nationality nor gender of the applicant but concentrated on the brain behind the person. We hope she will take us to new heights," Mr Shirima said. He added: ìShe has the potential to build on the strong foundation that Mr Kiokoís team established.

Every year the company made profit and was listed on DSE in 2011.î When Mr Kioko took over the helm of PW in 2003 the airline had only six aircraft and all of them were second hand, ten years later the firm has latest nine ATR and three Boeings 737-300. Passenger number also grew from 200,000 of 2004 to one million at present.

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