PRECISION AIR ANNOUNCES LILONGWE / HARARE AND HINTS AT SIGNIFICANT PROFITS
Precision Air, Tanzanias leading airline, has just announced that they will launch flights to Lilongwe / Malawi and Harare / Zimbabwe from August this year onwards, when additional aircraft have joined their growing fleet. At the same time as making this announcement was it also mentioned that the airline is looking at significant profits this year, inspite of the challenges of record fuel prices and a less than satisfactory initial stock offering via the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.
The company according to information sourced from Dar es Salaam is looking at a profit in excess of 1 billion Tanzania Shillings, enough perhaps for renewed interest in their shares and likely to drive the stock value up before a formal announcement can be made later in regard to expected dividends.
Already operating a dozen aircraft of B737-300 make, as well as ATR turboprops the airline has more recently added a further order for 6 more ATR 72-600 and ATR 42-600 state of the art aircraft, which will start being delivered from late next year onwards.
The airline however lamented the fact that many of Tanzanias secondary and tertiary airports and aerodromes do not have equipment to permit for night operations and the source added: in aviation one wants to use the planes 24 / 7 really and when quite a bit of the fleet cannot fly at night because of lack of runway lighting or navigational equipment in place, that is not a good thing. The more the planes are in the air, the better it normally is for the airline in terms of returns on investment. The government is trying to play catch up with refurbishing runways and expanding terminal buildings and other facilities across the entire country but it is not as fast as we would like to see and there are components which need to be added, like runway lighting and approach lighting to permit for night operations. It will also make it better for Tanzanians wanting to fly because if you can use your aircraft for more hours the cost of tickets can be reduced in many cases. When asked what impact the recent changes in Air Tanzania would very likely have on Precision Air the source then said: Air Tanzania is just really starting again and they have one aircraft compared with 12 by Precision. The management changes last week you reported about have also posed some new challengers for the new team. They need a new board and only when that is in place, when they have say 3, 4 or 5 aircraft, a mix of jets and turboprop, than we can see how they re-enter the market. For now, aviators watch and see and wish them well of course like we do with everyone who takes to the skies, leaving the key question unanswered of exactly what Precision Air is expecting in terms of competitive challenges, now that they control over 60 percent of domestic traffic. Watch this space.