AIR Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) was yesterday ordered to devise solid strategies to boost revenues and control costs for the national carrier to operate profitably and competitively.
The Parliamentary Public Investment Committee (PIC) also asked the company to draw up sustainable training and capacity building strategy for its employees, especially pilots and cabin crews to improve service delivery.
PIC Vice Chairperson Zaynab Vulu (Special Seats--CCM), presenting the Committee directives to ATCL Board Chairman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and management team, instructed the airline to repair its grounded Q300 aircraft to boost its fleet and spur services.
ATCL Chairman, Engineer Emmanuel Korosso, CEO Ladislaus Matindi and other senior members of the management team appeared before the Committee to present their strategic business plan.
Mr Matindi said the airline had recently improved on the on-time performance and service delivery, noting that the company has already recruited 84 cabin crews and 40 more are expected soon to enhance the service department.
He said that the airline has 10 highly qualified pilots for the Dreamliner which is ready to embark on the Mumbai route.
"We have qualified pilots who are currently flying our Dreamliner and they are doing well," said Mr Matindi, hinting that by December this year, the company will have a total of 44 pilots against its demand of over 50.
The company has embarked on a special programme to recruit and train inexperienced pilots from the market, said the CEO.
"There are many trained young pilots in the domestic market ...they only lack experience in flying aircraft.
So, we take them through the bridging courses to qualify as pilots for our aircraft," said Mr Matindi, adding that the airline has also worked on competitive packages to retain the skilled aviators.
He said ATCL is gradually improving performance, with its market share having increased from 2.5 to 24 per cent in a span of two years. The airline, however, still relies on passengers as its source of revenues, with 94 per cent contribution.
Cargo and mails give four and two per cent, respectively. Debating the plan, the committee members challenged the airline to pursue cargo business as a potential revenue source, citing Kenya Airways whose cargo business contributes about 47 per cent to the airline revenues.
Ms Esther Matiko (Tarime Urban-CHADEMA) argued that ATCL can make huge cargo business, thanks to the country's endowments in agricultural resources, particularly horticulture.
The legislators also dared the management to improve services to international standards, especially through enhancement of cabin crew's language and attitude.
"We have to really impress people boarding our aircraft through superb services, including the outlook of our service providers (air hostesses)," said Ms Matiko.