Tanzania: Air Tanzania Plane Impounded in South Africa

Dar es Salaam — Air Tanzania was forced to cancel its flight from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam on Friday August 23 after its aircraft was seized on an order by the Gauteng High Court of South Africa.

A statement released by the Tanzanian government confirmed the seizure. No reason has been provided yet.

Mr Leonard Chamuriho, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications, said the government had been informed by its ambassador in South Africa about the development.

"We are working to ensure that the plane is released immediately," said Mr Chamuriho, who later promised to give more details on Monday.

Air Tanzania also issued a statement Saturday to announce flight schedule adjustments - however, it did not link the development to the seizure of its aircraft in South Africa.

ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi said Saturday that arrangements with other airlines to carry its passengers who were affected.

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But this is not the first time that the resurgent Air Tanzania has faced trouble in South Africa.

Last month, a delegation from the national carrier was turned away at the Oliver Tambo International Airport on its inaugural flight to Johannesburg.

Read: ATCL explains hitch in SA maiden flight

Mr Matindi blamed "miscommunication" between the airport and immigration officials for the hitch that saw him, Works, Transport and Communication deputy minister Elias Kwandikwa, other ATCL officials and journalists denied entry into the airport for a welcome ceremony.

The state-owned airline this June launched its maiden flight to South Africa's business capital Johannesburg, a move described as aimed at bolstering relations between the two countries.

Ties between the South African and Tanzanian governments were cemented in 2002 when South African Airways (SAA) bought some shares in the national carrier.

However, the partnership ended in 2006 when the Tanzanian government repurchased SAA shares to recapture its 100 per cent ownership of ATCL.

More to follow... .

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