AIR TANZANIAS NEW CEO SPEAKS OUT ON FUTURE
Capt. Lazaro Lusajo, earlier this week appointed as Acting Chief Executive Officer of Air Tanzania following the sacking of his predecessor Paul Chizi, expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Minister for Transport while swiftly reassuring his staff, the airlines clientele and the public at large that the changes at the helm of the airline could lead to service interruptions.
Capt. Lusajo, a veteran aviator with over 12.000 hours of flying experience and having served at the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority too in the past, was broadly welcomed as a new broom and is expected to fill the vacancies created by the suspension of four top executives by selecting personnel of his choice, allowing him to create a senior team ready and able to weather the competitive storm ATCL is now flying into.
With only one B737-500 operating right now between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza via Kilimanjaro, and a crash landed Bombardier Q300 under repair, the state owned airline will be trying to get additional jets and turboprops on lease to widen their domestic operations to other places like Kigoma, Dodoma, Zanzibar and other key towns across the sprawling East African nation, before extending flights to the region like Nairobi, Entebbe and Kigali amongst other options. The market in Tanzania is dominated by Precision Airs extensive operation with both B737-300 and ATR turboprop aircraft, covering Tanzania like not even Air Tanzania used to do during its heydays, while having also a firm grip on regional flights to Kenya and Uganda.
Capt Lusajo specifically addressed his intention to swiftly conclude therefore additional aircraft procurement which would see ATCL enabled to fly on the lucrative and high traffic routes now by default left to the private sector competition. Aviation observers in Tanzania welcome the appointment as a purely professional decision without political undertones but cautioned that the strong unions hitherto dominating ATCL in their cat and mouse game with management, would sooner rather than later re-emerge and demand a bigger slice of the cake, which however has not yet even been baked. Watch this space.
Archive for June 8th, 2012
AIR TANZANIAS NEW CEO SPEAKS OUT ON FUTURE
TOURISM SECTORAL REPORT RAISES OIL DRILLING CONCERNS
The annual report by the Ministry of Tourism, in conjunction with the World Bank, has raised broad concerns over the level of future drilling and production of oil in the main concession blocks presently being explored. Located in the Albertine Graben, part of the Great African Rift Valley, several drilling sites are located inside national parks, mainly the Murchisons Falls National Park, the Semliki National Park and the Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is next on the list for exploration drilling in the Southern, aka Ishasha sector leading to the gorilla parks of Bwindi and Mgahinga.
Fears have been circulating amongst the conservation fraternity over the removal of drilling mud, thought to be highly toxic as well as the broad restoration of areas affected by drilling, once the well heads have been secured, and while past concessionaire Heritage Oil, which since sold their interests to partner Tullow Oil, itself farming down to Total of France and the Chinese national oil company, has at the time repeatedly offered free and unfettered access to exploration and restoration sites for this correspondent to ascertain the level of attention given to the entire complex of environmental protection and mitigative measures employed by them. Other oil companies have not been that accommodating and therefore come under increased scrutiny with the pending question what they might have to hide if they are not willing to openly disclose and grant access to the media.
Ministry officials though were tightlipped with one regular source claiming that anything to do with oil in Uganda was a highly sensitive matter almost treated as state secrets and that intervention from above was always on the cards should the Uganda Wildlife Service, the Ministry or other bodies get too close to the core when requiring evidence of mitigative measures or needed to investigate potential toxicity and issues related to potential spillages and the preparedness of the companies to instantly deal with them and not waste days to get equipment on site.
The Albertine Graben is home to 5 national parks and several forest and game reserves and considered as one of Ugandas premier biodiversity hot spots besides being a major source of water through the Semliki River, Lakes Albert, Edward and George and of course the River Nile traversing the Murchisons Falls National Park before flowing through a section of Lake Albert and then moving towards the border with South Sudan at Nimule.
Watch this space for regular updates right here on the future of oil exploration in Ugandas parks and wilderness areas and how it will play out in the medium and long term.
KENYA AIRWAYS LAUNCHES SKYPRIORITY IN NAIROBI
Frequent flyers of Kenya Airways and their SkyTeam alliance partners operating in and out of Nairobi will be delighted to hear of the latest initiative by the airline to make their travel more pleasant, starting with the check in on the ground. Termed a branded priority service by the airlines involved new measures are aimed at making priority visible and easily accessible for holders of frequent flyer cards under the SkyTeam banner while also offering premium passengers travelling in business or even first class a fast track solution from the moment they are stepping into the airport terminal.
The new service will be implemented in two phases starting this month with the airlines hub in Nairobi and Kenya Airways main domestic destinations Mombasa, Kisumu and Malindi before extending into the region to Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Juba, Kigali and Bujumbura.
The second phase rollout will then commence during the July to end in November period and will cover the rest of the airlines global destinations including the rest of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East, and Europe. Kenya Airways currently flies to 57 destinations from their Nairobi hub, the latest being New Delhi which was launched in mid May, and is presently operating a fleet of 35 aircraft with at least one new aircraft due for delivery on a monthly basis between July 2012 well into 2013. The Pride of Africa indeed. Watch this space for regular and breaking aviation news covering Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.
STAKEHOLDERS CALL FOR MEETING AMID ALLEGATIONS OF ASSOCIATION FAILURES
Long pending differences of opinion and a range of allegations towards the incumbent leadership of the Uganda Tourism Association will come to a head this afternoon, after the Uganda Safari Guide Association broke the silence and called for a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the state of the tourism private sectors apex body. Clearly dissatisfied with a lack of opportunities to openly discuss the state of the industry, allegedly because no meetings have been arranged by UTA for an extended period of time, USAGA must have thought that enough is now finally enough and in open defiance of attempts to silence them gone public with a widely circulated email availed to this correspondent, to meet at the Uganda Museum this Friday at 15.00 hrs.
A number of regular contacts in the industry also made contact following the release of the email and the subsequent flurry of behind the scenes activities and one had this to say on condition of strict anonymity, citing the potential backlash by association leaders now under fire as a result of being exposed in public: It is true what Herbert has been saying in his mail. UTA has not held meetings and the member associations could not interact other than through one on one contacts and informally. Many have been fed up with the way the industry is not moving fast enough and UTA is supposed to spearhead the private sector efforts.
This is a big year for Uganda Tourism, we are 50 years old as a nation and Lonely Planet made us their global top ranked destination for 2012. Too little has been done really to exploit that and now people are fed up and want answers. What we got is some people doing a peacock and maybe even using good office for promoting themselves. There have been efforts to sort this out but in vain and now matters have come to a head. Herbert saw no other chance but to go public with his concerns. Now it is in the open and we can start the process of revitalizing UTA and returning it to its glory days from you know when. What is sad that it had to come to this and our dirty linen is now washed in public instead of behind closed doors, but it could not have been avoided because of the resistance of some trying to hang on.
The full text of the mail in question is published herebelow for readers to form their own opinion and in particular for Ugandan stakeholders to attend this meeting and find out directly what the opposing sides have to say for themselves and how a way forward can be mapped out and followed through.
Dear Members of the Tourism Fraternity,
I am writing to invite you as member of the Tourism community of Uganda to a meeting scheduled for June 8th, 2012 at the Uganda Museum, at 3:00 – 5:00pm, to discuss matters relating to UTA and its future progress. As stake holders, and members of UTA, we feel USAGA has tourism issues and contributions which would have been discussed at UTA level but due to lack of an avenue to do this, nothing can be done to our industry as it continues lagging behind.
The Government of Uganda and its development partners find challenging creating partnerships with loosely related private sector tourism stakeholders.
We have also realise that there has not been any Annual General Meeting or Governing Council meeting of UTA for more than 3 years.
We have also realise that there has not been any organised elections for the leaders for a long time. The current "Office bearers" may not have been formally elected into their office according to the constitution.
The purpose of this meeting therefore is to collectively chat out ways of strengthening UTA and ensure that we all ably represented in all aspects and our concerns and other members concerns are addressed.
It would be of importance if you confirm you attendance on this email or by sending a message to numbers below.
On another note; there is a monthly tourism forum going on every last Saturday of the month. The next forum will take place on the 30 of June at the Uganda Museum at 3:00pm
Your attendance will be very important in this process of reviving our apex body, Uganda Tourism Association.
As the saying here goes, watch this space to learn in due course of what direction the meeting took and where tourism is heading to thereafter. Best of luck in the deliberations.
EAST AFRICAN TOURISM PLATFORM LAUNCHES TODAY
The East Africa Tourism Platform launches in its first county in the East African Community today 08th June, namely in Tanzania, to facilitate active and focused engagement of the private sector in the East African Community (EAC) integration process.
The Platform, an apex private sector body for tourism in East Africa, will work closely with EAC State Ministries,
the EAC Secretariat, East African Business Council and private sector organizations in tourism in all the member states to promote intra and inter-regional tourism through advocacy, marketing, skills development, research and information sharing.
In a prelaunch communication Waturi Matu, the EATP Coordinator said to this correspondent: A domestic and regional approach to tourism is needed in East Africa for the region to achieve its overall economic goals. Increased regional tourism promotion offers a lower investment option with greater benefits in terms of income and employment in the region.
The EATP aims to achieve the following objectives:
· Intermediate and reduce obstacles to intra and inter-regional tourism;
· Promote a regional tourism marketing approach;
· Encourage continuous skills development in the tourism sector;
· Promote harmonized standards and codes of conduct of tourism facilities and services;
· Facilitate access to finance and risk management services; and
· Provide Information and networking opportunities.
Other country launches scheduled to take place are Rwanda 14-16th June 2012 during the Kwita Izina Festival Week and in Kenya on 22nd June 2012 at the Kenya Travel Awards. Dates for Burundi and Uganda will be determined at a later date.
The East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) is the private sector body for tourism in East Africa established to
foster private sector interest and participation in the East African Community (EAC) integration process. EATP works closely with EAC State Ministries, the EAC Secretariat, East African Business Council and tourism private sector organizations in all the member states.
EATP seeks to support intra and inter-regional tourism through:
· Lobbying and advocacy;
· Adopting a regional tourism marketing approach;
· Skills development;
· Harmonization of standards and codes of conduct;
· Access to finance and risk management services; and
· Information and networking opportunities.
In a related development has this correspondent worked closely with the EATP during its formative stages and on the platforms Facebook page via https://www.facebook.com/#!/eastafrica.platform are all tourism, aviation and conservation relevant content from www.wolfganghthome.wordpress.com reporting about East African developments re-broadcast for the benefit of EATPs fast expanding membership and supporters. All the best on the Arusha inaugural launch and lasting success in uniting East Africas often fragmented tourism sectors.
BRITISH AIRWAYS INTRODUCES CREDIT CARD PAYMENT OPTION IN UGANDA
British Airways Commercial Manager for Uganda Faith Chaitezvi yesterday announced in Kampala that the airlines clientele can with immediate effect now use their credit cards to pay for bookings made on the airlines website, greatly enhancing the chances of actually doing transactions and not deserting due to the complications arising from subsequently having to make physical payment by cash or cheque at the BA offices in the city. In a press statement availed to this correspondent Faith was quoted as having said: BA as a full service airline is always looking for new ways of improving the customer travel experience by putting passengers increasingly in control of their departure, transit and destination planning; technology undoubtedly plays a big part in making this possible which is the reason we have launched the online credit card payment solution here in Uganda before adding making payment online is fairly simple and very secure. This is a growing trend that any serious airline cannot ignore, online solutions whether for payments or bookings are the vehicles of future travel.
A number of other airlines had previously already introduced secure technology for Ugandans and expatriates living in Uganda to book and pay for tickets via e-Commerce transactions, notably Kenya Airways and even RwandAir, leaving others trailing in their wake as the increasingly important direct bookings via websites could not be paid for in the absence of facilitating the safe and secure use of credit cards. British Airways also pointed out that only the latest generation of credit cards with enhanced security features, known as 3D or SOLP enabled cards can be used for transactions, while Gold and Silver Members of the airlines frequent flyer programme however can also use older credit or debit cards in conjunction with their membership numbers via a secure web page.
British Airways presently flies 4 times a week between London Heathrow and Entebbe. Watch this space for regular and breaking news aviation updates from the Eastern African region.