20 September 2017

Tanzania: Aviation Players Told to Fix Snags

THE government has tasked aviation stakeholders to come up with solutions for problems facing the industry, including a decline of cargo deliveries at airports.

Officiating the first National Civil Aviation Forum in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa (pictured), pointed out that since the government was investing heavily on infrastructures, the challenge was how to reverse the trend of dropping cargo.

At the forum organised by Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), the minister said it had been noted that flowers from Arusha as well as fish consignments were not being transported directly from the country, but through Entebbe and Nairobi airports in Uganda and Kenya, respectively.

Prof Mbarawa said the trend was worrisome, tasking the participants in the forum themed "Taking Civil Aviation Industry in Tanzania to the Apex" to come up with solutions.

"Any cargo plane can land at Mwanza Airport which has the longest runway in the region ... but fish from Mwanza is being transported through Entebbe Airport and flowers from Arusha through Nairobi," the minister noted sorrowfully, stressing: "We need short and clear answers on these challenges."

In the forum attended by sector ministry officials, those linked with institutions under its umbrella, aviation companies including Air Tanzania, FastJet and Precision Air, the minister emphasised that the government needed a focused Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the construction of aviation infrastructures.

"Policy can't be changed without inputs from stakeholders; we count on your inputs to solve the challenges facing the industry," the minister said.

Among the challenges raised in the forum was the shortage of pilots, technicians, the trained cabin crew, which the minister said could be tackled if the stakeholders played their roles effectively.

Mr Hamza Johari, the TCAA Director General said since the country was striving to attain middle-income economy status, aviation stakeholder engagement was important.

Meanwhile, Mr Johari was currently striving to improve airport infrastructure, including radars, power stations and expanding existing ones to accommodate as many passengers and planes as possible.

In order to attract more planes to fly upcountry, the Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA) suggests that many sectors, including agriculture, should be linked to the aviation sector.

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