Dar es Salaam — Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) hopes to finalise the process of connecting itself to the global distribution system (DGS) in the coming few days.
When the process is completed, the airline will start flying to China and India next month. GDS is a worldwide computerised reservation network used as a single point of access for reserving airline seats, hotel rooms, and rental cars by travel agents, online reservation sites and large corporations.
ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi told The Citizen and Mwananchi yesterday that after resolving its International Air Transport Association (Iata) membership issue, the company was now working on the GDS matter.
"We now have six aircraft that the government has leased to us. The airplanes include two Airbuses and a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which are to be deployed on routes to China and India. The international flights have only been delayed by the challenges of Iata membership - which we have finalised - and GDS - which we hope to finalise soon," he said.
So far, he said ATCL had been able to connect to three GDS companies: They are Travel Port as well as one in China and another one in Europe.
The company is, however, finalising agreements with Sabre and Amadeus.
With the airplanes, leased to it by the government, ATCL is eyeing to start flights to Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa to increase its regional reach beyond the Comoros, Burundi and Uganda.
"We also expect to have two other new routes to Kenya and to the Democratic Republic of Congo by the end of 2019," he said. The UK, UAE and Oman are also high on the company's plans and that they would be reached before the end of 2023.
According to him, the company is working under the guidance of a five-year business plan which was put together by Deloitte. It was meant to run between 2015 and 2020 but was updated by government officials to run between 2018 and 2023
The plan directs ATCL to have adequate airplanes, a sound management team as well as a new board of directors.
He said through the company's short-term plan, the airline increased its market share to 31 per cent.
It planned to start with 4,000-5,000 passengers a month. The number grew to 21,000, reaching 40,000 during high seasons.
Through Dreamliner, ATCL has a capacity to transport 40 tonnes of cargo.
It is currently in talks with Mwanza business leaders to transport at least seven tonnes of meat to Dar es Salaam before being connected with international flights, according to Mr Matindi.