C-SERIES NEXT FOR AIR TANZANIA?
(Posted 05th November 2016)
The CS300, only recently certified by the Canadian aviation regulators and one of the world’s latest brand new single aisle aircraft, has been suggested as the aircraft of choice by the Tanzanian government to take national airline Air Tanzania to the next level. Launch customer for the C-Series was Swiss a few weeks ago and Bombardier is now gearing up towards commercial deliveries of the CS100 and soon the CS300 too.
Only recently did the Tanzanian government buy two of Bombardier’s Q400 turboprop aircraft to supplement the single Bombardier Q300 in service, allowing Air Tanzania to once again take to the skies in a more serious fashion and resume flights to a number of domestic destinations.
The airline’s management, when handing over the new aircraft, was given a well near ultimatum to turn the company around and begin not just serving the country but make profit again, when both President Magufuli and his Transport Minister gave the managers a piece of their mind.
President Magufuli in fact mentioned at the time that his government was quite prepared to add more new aircraft – he ruled out leases and acquisitions through greed driven ‘deals’ – and while there was speculation this may result in the purchase of CRJ models this now seems to have been upped to the larger 135 seat CS300 series.
Two such aircraft could be added to the Air Tanzania fleet by 2018 and after that it is anyone’s guess, once the domestic and regional networks are up and flying again, when the airline may set its sights to routes out of Africa, i.e. the Gulf or beyond.
Meanwhile so does the challenge for large scale aviation enterprises in Tanzania remain.
Other airlines like Fastjet and Precision Air are all still in the red, a situation they share with Air Tanzania, and aviation pundits claim it is the high level of fees and taxes the companies have to pay, among of course other reasons, which has kept them in the red. Observers are now keenly eyeing the local media to find out what, if any, formal announcements may be made by Air Tanzania or the government, after President Magufuli, upon his return from a State Visit to Kenya, gave some indication that he will ensure ATCL does get the equipment it needs to make a serious impact on the market.