26 February 2013

Tanzania: Local Airlines Urged to Eye International Destinations

THE country is losing a considerable amount of revenue due to the absence of national airline to international destinations, tourism and travel industry stakeholders say.

They say 60 per cent of every sold international and regional air ticket bring-in revenue to the government in ways of receipt, but this is not possible as there is no airline flying global routes.

Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) Executive Secretary Mr Mustapha Akunaay said for more than a decade the said revenue was missed because the national flag carrier was struggling to fly domestic routes.

"At least Precision Air is flying regional routes but that was not enough... what is needed are international routes that have lion's share," Mr Akunaay, who also a member of Parliament, told the 'Daily News'. The TATO Secretary said the revenue that was to enter into government coffers are now going to the international carrier plying between Dar or Kilimanjaro and global destinations.

At the moment the national carrier, Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), is struggling to fly domestic routes with only two aircraft -- Dash 8 and Boeing 737-200 -- plying between Dar-Mwanza, Dar-Kigoma and Dar-Mtwara. In its days of glory between 1980 and mid 1990s, ATCL, used to fly to London, the Middle East and a number of regional routes but it collapsed after it was privatized to the South African Airways.

During 1980/81 the airline operated international/regional flights using Boeing 707 and 737 from Dar es Salaam to Athens, Antanarivo, Bombay, Bujumbura, Cairo, Frankfurt, Kigali, London-Gatwick, Maputo, Mauritius, Moroni, Muscat and Rome. While the designated national flag bearer, Precision Air (PW), has elevated itself to regional status but is yet to reach overseas destinations.

PW plans international routes, like Far East, but in the next five years after maximizing regional frequencies. In the regional map, PW plans to introduce its seventh and eight regional flights between Dar es Salaam and Harare, Zimbabwe via Blantyre, Malawi before the end of this year. The airline, which is designated national carrier, also serves Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, Lubumbashi in DRC, Comoro, Zambia, and Uganda.

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