11 January 2018

Tanzania: 'Dar to Become Regional Aviation Hub'

DAR ES SALAAM has what it takes to become the regional aviation hub thanks to expansion of the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), domestic airlines and supporting aviation ecosystem, according to an aviation expert.

Hassan El-Houry, the Group Chief Executive Officer of National Aviation Services (NAS), a ground handling company operating in Tanzania said JNIA expansion, revival of the national flag carrier, ATCL and existence of rival airlines, Precision Air and Fastjer as well as existence of supporting aviation infrastructure and regulations, had boosted the prospects of Dar es Salaam to become a leading regional aviation hub.

"The government has already put in place (aviation) eco-system. This, plus three major domestic airlines makes Dar a natural hub," the visiting aviation expert said in an exclusive interview.

Currently, the main scheduled airlines are Air Tanzania, Precision Air and Fastjet and dozens of scheduled and chartered airlines. The CEO said the geo-size of the country also opens up air travelling unlike many others Africa country.

"The good thing is that the government is pushing on reviving Air Tanzania ... this is good for sector expansion," Mr El-Houry said. Also, a number of international airlines fly to Dar, thus the airport stands as a good link for connecting domestic passengers to major cities and towns.

The domestic airlines are there to connect those passengers to Mbeya, Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Kigoma, Kagera, Arusha, Dodoma and Zanzibar," he said. Dodoma Airport was opened recently after the government moved its seat to the region at the centre of the country.

The CEO said given the fact that the industry has bright future NAS was set to expand further after a year in operation in the country.

"The number of our employees will increase from 130 to several hundred in this year ... and we have invested heavily on training our workers," Mr El-Houry said. NAS is a ground handling company in East Africa serving in three countries - Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, which are rising aviation stars.

In Tanzania, it operates in almost all major airports including Julius Nyerere, KIA, Dodoma and Mbeya handling Air Tanzania, Fly 540 and Fly- Dubai and several chartered airlines.

The firm which started humbly in Kuwait in 2003, has grown to become a global company with portfolio of services including ramp and passenger services, cargo handling, engineering services and line maintenance, airport technologies, fixed base operations, aviation training centre, travel agency and the pearl assist product

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