AIR TANZANIAS PAST SINS COME HOME TO HAUNT THEM
Parliamentarians opposed to the constant need to bail out ATCL and having to pay for the irresponsible decisions made by top management, have unearthed yet more liabilities, incurred through guarantees given by the Tanzanian government, in connection with past aircraft deals.
The stricken airline, in deep financial doldrums but also without a single plane to fly and earn revenue, some time ago, apparently against the advice of experts and opposition even from within the airline itself, entered into a lease deal for an A320, luring government at the time, possible by misrepresenting the full facts, into giving a guarantee for the transaction.
This leaves according to the committee on parastatal organizations the government liable to pay over 100 billion Tanzania Shillings and perhaps even greater liabilities, as ATCL seems to have sent the plane for maintenance in France in 2008, but failed to clear the bills now standing at over 3 million US Dollars. This is consistent to ATCLs handling of major maintenance of a Bombardier Q300, which government had to bail out from an imminent auction in South Africa, after ATCL had failed to heed any notices to pay or else, but only months after getting the aircraft back, it crashed two weeks ago during a botched take off attempt from the Kigoma aerodrome.
Said a regular source from Dar es Salaam when contacted to give his input: I have said it even the other day, this is a bottomless pit and the longer we wait the more comes out. It is time our parliament calls an end to any funds given from our limited tax revenues and waste on ATCL. Let them be liquidated and the final audits will surely reveal more rot and more concealed liabilities. At least that is then the end of them and their failed managers cannot waste ever more money. What issue does our government have to invest in Precision Air. That is a thriving airline, will make money and can do Tanzania proud. ATCL is only one big and never ending embarrassment.
Other aviation observers in the region claimed they needed to see the lease contract to understand better if ATCL was under the deal liable and responsible for maintenance of the aircraft, as can be the case, while in other lease arrangements it is the lessor which has to maintain the plane to ensure continued airworthiness. Said one periodic contributor from Nairobi: I cannot put it beyond those managers at the time, desperate to get a jet aircraft on their register, that they may have been a bit negligent when doing the contract. In many cases it is up to the lessor to pay for maintenance and even provide an alternative aircraft. This does not seem to be the case from what you explained. No alternate aircraft was ever provided when the Airbus went into heavy maintenance. Lease deals are complicated at times. You pay higher commitment fees and monthly charges when maintenance is included but a lot less when the operator is responsible for those duties. Optically such a deal can look attractive but when the bills for maintenance arrive, the whole cost suddenly becomes visible for everyone. If that happened, then it is purely a bad management decisions taken and those who caused this loss should be made to answer.
Oooops comes to mind, once again. Watch this space as the saga of ATCL continues unabated as ever more bad news emerge the deeper people dig.
Archive for April 19th, 2012
AIR TANZANIAS PAST SINS COME HOME TO HAUNT THEM
EXPEDIA PARTNERS WITH RDB TO PROMOTE RWANDA
Expedia Incorporated, arguably the worlds largest online travel company, has teamed up with the Rwanda Development Boards Tourism and Conservation Department, to give greater exposure to The Land of a Thousand Hills and widen the marketing reach for the country. RDB hosted a seminar in Kigali earlier in the week Online Travel in Rwanda to make the tourism trade aware of the added options now available to them to find business from overseas through e-Commerce, especially now that secure payment methods can be assured for web based credit card transactions. Ms. Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at the Rwanda Development Board, was quoted in a media release sent to this correspondent as saying: Rwanda will gain visibility thus promoting awareness of this country as a top tourism destination as well as a launching pad for global travel. We want to increase receipts which means we have to increase sales. This will be a big boost to Rwandas tourism revenue.
Virtual visits to Rwandas attractions have increased in recent years by several hundred percent, showcasing the attractions of the country around the world but this has also translated into double digit increases of real visitors and the resulting sharp rise in foreign exchange earnings for the country, now standing at well over 250 million US Dollars in 2011.
Participants in the workshop were urged to make use of the new facility, as presently only about a dozen hotels and service providers had signed up with Expedia when the CEO of RDB John Gara addressed the gathering, echoed also by the Chairman of the Rwanda Private Sector Foundations Tourism Chamber who reportedly said: We want to see how we can sell more online, market ourselves and have more tourists coming in to increase competitiveness, tourism revenues and create more jobs for Rwandans.
No quarterly data for the period January to March are officially available as yet but insider information points to once again a double digit rise compared to last year, attributed to the increase in flights, with more coming to Kigali when Turkish Airlines will commence operations to Rwanda by mid May. Watch this space.
Sauti Za Busara announces 2013 dates for 10th anniversary edition of Africa’s top rated music festival
Zanzibars globally renowned music and performing arts festival, Sauti Za Busara, has announced the dates for 2013 as 14th to 17th February, making
the love affair with this most widely known and best reputed African music and arts festival all the more befitting, starting on Valentines Day.
The 2012 festival was the best attended ever and 2013 is promising to be bigger and better as the continents musicians, poets and film makers descend on the Spice Island. Next year will also be the 10th edition of the festival, and the organizers are reportedly already pulling out all the stops to make this a very special occasion. Artists wishing to participate in this special anniversary edition are to apply on line by 31st July 2012 to be considered and details are available via the festival website on busara. The selection committee will sit in August and successful applicants will be notified, according to the information at hand, by latest September this year.
Fans can also visit and like the festival via www.facebook.com/sautizabusara where the latest information is available and updated on a regular basis.
For wannabe visitors a word of advice though already at this early stage. Last years festival saw record numbers of visitors stream to the island, by ferry from Dar es Salaam and by air, and seats were reportedly tight if not outright unavailable as were most of the hotels and resorts booked up. Early bookings, as early as right now, would therefore be advisable to secure airline bookings and hotel reservations, so dont get back to me as some did last year claiming you should have said that earlier. Sauti Za Busara beckons on the distant horizon, so make a date with the Spice Island of Zanzibar for a holiday alongside Africas biggest and best arts festival.
BRUSSELS AIRLINES LAUNCHES NEW CABIN PRODUCT
The latest addition to the growing Brussels Airlines fleet, another A330-300 making it 7 A330 overall, has been unveiled with a new cabin product during a flight last week to Cameroon. A state of the art business class cabin with full flat beds has been introduced while in economy class a new type of ergonomic seats has been installed. A new inflight entertainment system too is in place in the new aircraft, which from June onwards will fly daily to New York. Until then however, 4 more of the A330-300 aircraft will be retrofitted while undergoing maintenance at their stipulated intervals while the 2 A330-200 aircraft, presently deployed on the routes to East Africa due to the larger cargo uplift capacity, will be retrofitted by November this year.
SN has in recent weeks made waves in the market, not just to launch their own nonstop flights to the Big Apple from June onwards but also been aggressively marketing their 4 flights per week, only days ago making a unique offer of transferring frequent flyer statuses from other airlines to their own Miles and More loyalty scheme.
Have a preview of the new seat product in both business and economy class, which awaits passengers besides the traditional Savoir Vivre in the air. Watch this space for breaking and regular news from East Africas exciting aviation scene.
Information was confirmed overnight that Emirates, Dubais award winning airline, was once again on the prowl in Eastern Africa and in fact across the continent, to recruit 4.500 pilots, cabin crew, engineering, ground handling, operations, IT and other staff, urgently needed to back up the planned expansion of fleet and destinations in coming years. The airlines Regional Manager for Eastern Africa, Mr. Sulaiman Essa Ahmad revealed in a media communiqué to this correspondent that Emirates currently employs over 1.000 Kenyans in a variety of positions, which include, according to the lastest figures provided, 10 pilots, 430 cabin crew and over 600 personnel deployed in a range of other areas including engineering. Said Mr. Sulaiman: We need around 4,000 cabin crew in this fiscal year plus hundreds of pilots and other operational staff as well. We do not have specific targets for certain countries but instead looking to hire qualified candidates who can meet Emirates high level of competence. Kenyans are well represented in our talent pool and theyve demonstrated a good measure of competence and drive. This is yet another opportunity for those wishing to work for Emirates to apply before adding: Emirates cabin crews are trained to deliver exceptional customer services experience on every flight. Thus, in addition to the requirement above, the candidate should demonstrate a positive attitude and empathy for others, a strong cultural awareness and the ability to adapt to new environments and people, flexibility and the motivation to manage a demanding work schedule, and qualities necessary to live up to the mission and values that Emirates holds in high regard i.e. professional, empathetic, progressive, visionary, cosmopolitan.
The airline presently receives one additional wide bodied aircraft every month and currently flies to 123 destinations with their 171 aircraft now in service.
Meanwhile has one airline executive responded to questions posed to him by email, saying: Last year we faced a situation where Kenya Airways openly advertised for pilots to join them and that was targeting our captains and first officers. Engineering staff, cabin crew, operations staff are all siphoned away by the big league with better terms and conditions. When the bond arrangements for pilots and other staff trained at our expense expire, we always face a difficult situation if they stay or succumb to offers from other airlines.
Africa is a resource pool, not just for minerals and other riches but now also for well trained staff. Reasons for that are often the political circumstances which are not in favour of top professionals wishing to stay and the opportunities to work as an expatriate especially in the Gulf. Highly qualified staff get paid well, can send money home and us local airlines find it difficult to match terms and conditions. In fact it makes our life much more difficult. We not only compete against the big fish in our own pond which is hard enough as it is, now the Gulf airlines are adding to this. And it is not Emirates alone, every airline now flying from the Gulf to Kenya is looking at recruitments from here. Kenyans are well educated, keen workers with good work ethics and ambitious but this strength is also now a threat to smaller airlines because there simply are not enough training academies to bring up new pilots and the expansion of Gulf airlines is faster than anyone can produce new flying school graduates. So they recruit in the open market.
Truly two sides to this coin and as repeatedly referred to here in previous articles, this contentious issue will not go away, considering that Kenya Airways is intent to triple their fleet by 2021 and has already been given green light to recruit expatriate captains themselves to alleviate the looming shortage of cockpit crews. For aviation professionals from Eastern Africa though, this is the time of milk and honey it seems with added opportunities and options how to advance their careers. Watch this space.