Air Tanzania grows fleet as it seeks to ply new routes

23rd April 2021 By: John Muchira - Creamer Media Correspondent

Tanzania’s national carrier, Air Tanzania, is set to take delivery of three new aircraft as it seeks to grow its fleet to ply new regional and international routes.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told Parliament this month that government had paid for two Airbus A220-300 planes and a De Havilland Dash 8-400. Delivery of the three planes would bring the Air Tanzania fleet to 12, and the target was to have a fleet of 14 aircraft by next year.

The Tanzania government intends to buy two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners and a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 in the 2021/22 financial year, ensuring that the airline has one of the youngest fleets in East Africa.

The airline, which was revived in 2018, planned to make its maiden long-haul flight to Guangzhou, China, last month, but the flight was suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The revival of the airline was one of the election pledges made by the late President John Pombe Magufuli in 2015.

By June last year, the Tanzania government had bought eight aircraft at a cost of $550-million.

Despite the aggressive and ambitious expansion plans, the airline continues to post losses, which amounted to $64.4-million over the past five years, according to the country’s Auditor-General and Controller of Public Accounts. In the last financial year alone, Air Tanzania posted $25.7-million in losses.

“In addition to buying the aircraft, government has assisted the airline to the tune of $65.6-million for operational and development activities,” said the Auditor-General in a report tabled in Parliament.

Tanzania is among the East African nations that have prioritised the revival of national carriers to compete with Kenya’s struggling airline.