THE government has said that political will is of paramount to the growth and prosperity of the aviation industry in the country and the East African Region.
This was said on Thursday by the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Eng. Isaack Kamwelwe when opening the 46th East African Consultative Meeting on Facilitation of Air Transport that will be in Dar es Salaam for three days.
In his speech read on behalf by the Acting Director General of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), Vallery Chamlungu, Kamwelwe said the political will was instrumental in reviving Air Tanzania (ATCL) for buying ten brand new aircrafts.
The government has procured two aircrafts, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner capable of carrying 262 passengers each, four Airbus A220-300 of which two are now in operation and two with the capacity of carrying 132 passengers each are still in the manufacturing process.
The other four Bombardier Dash-8 three are already in operation and one is still being manufactured with a capacity of carrying 76 passengers each.
Other factors that are in line with the political will that the government has done include the construction of the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), Terminal III and the expansion and upgrading of various airports in the country.
Delegates from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi were impressed with the government efforts in improving air transport by building better and modern airport.
Among the Heads of Delegates who gave such views include Kenya's Principal Air Transport Officer, Benjamin Enyenze, Rwanda's Head of Delegation, Faustin Muhunde, Burundi's Head of Delegation, Pacific Musongela and the Principal Air Transport Officer of Uganda, Faisal Ssemuwemba.
Another thing done by the government under political will is the purchase of four modern radars one installed at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), Mwanza and Songwe airports.
"I was informed that on Wednesday you visited our Terminal III building at JNIA, so your critiques and commendations about it are important to us in improving our air transport services at international standards, through this meeting, I hope you will share your experiences and come up with recommendations that will help improving the industry both in the country and in East Africa as a whole, "said Minister Kamwelwe.
Kamwelwe said one of the challenges facing the airline industry in East Africa is the shortage of experts including pilots, engineers and other experts, but also the region is facing the challenge of Ebola.
In turn, TCAA's Director of Economic Regulation, Daniel Malanga, said another challenge facing the global aviation sector including the EAC is theft.
He said through that meeting, they will discuss and recommend on how best tackling the challenge in order to attract more customers.