Assurances to airlines and the aviation industry, that air operations across Tanzania were safe inspite of the failure of crucial radar equipment, sounded hollow at best and exculpatory at worst, prompting sharp comments from regular contributors from Tanzanias airlines.
If the TCAA Director General really stands up before us and tells us that the absence of radar has no impact on safe operations, what world does he live in? You should be aware yourself of the problems because even in Entebbe your radar is down and it is an issue with airlines. JNIA is our busiest airport in the country and if there is no radar guidance for controllers, or for meteorological purposes, how do they monitor air traffic. Anyone could stray into the airspace, a light aircraft for instance, and how is that detected. Those small birds do not have anti collision avoidance systems on board and something really bad can happen. Imagine we had more flights in and out of JNIA, how would they cope with that without causing a lot of delays? Some time ago the Sudanese only accepted an aircraft into their airspace for overflights every half hour because their equipment was down and what we have here today is not so different.
It is a shame that we as a country try to boost tourism and yet the main infrastructure supporting it, is out of service. I know that our government is pouring a lot of money into upgrading our various aerodromes and airfields and secondary airports to boost aviation, but at the same time, TCAA must keep the equipment working, or procure new equipment with all the money they make from passenger taxes and not hoodwink us or put up smokescreens. After all, we are the ones flying, they sit on their desks as bureaucrats, today at TCAA but tomorrow perhaps dealing with forestry or fishing or trade. This has to stop a regular source roared in anger when asked to comment on the statement of TCAA DG Fadhil Manongi made yesterday in Dar es Salaam, when the unease over the lack of radar fueled rumours and unsettled aviation personnel.
Watch this space to read what you need to know about aviation developments across Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.