TCAA plans become public to double navigation fees


(Posted 07th July 2013)

Information has emerged from Dar es Salaam’s aviation circles that the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority appears set to double navigation charges. While stakeholder consultations, now an almost mandatory requirement for statutory bodies like the TCAA, will apparently be called to discuss the implications of the move, stakeholders have already denounced the plans as unsustainable if not outright ludicrous.

Doubling navigation fees will be a big blow to general aviation where charges will rise from 30 to 60 dollars. For commercial jet aircraft the new charges per flight will go from 350 dollars, already the highest in East Africa, to 700 dollars. Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya are all lower than that which means that flying there can be more competitive than flying within or into Tanzania. When they offer air safari packages, that differential will reflect in the prices. The government should first look at streamlining TCAA operations. All the posh offices can be amalgamated into an East African Civil Aviation Authority. We already have CASSOA in charge of aviation safety and security. If we have one regional head office and all the rest will be branches we achieve multiple cost reductions. We can make use of the resource pool of qualified staff without having to hire expensive consultants and we can save money now spent on having all the administrations times 5 across the member states. Before asking for a doubling of fees, let them explore where they can save us money in administrative areas. We aviators are not proposing they cut in oversight or safety issues, but there is a lot of deadwood around and a regional body could get rid of that. We can streamline, we can improve service delivery. We can have a single lower airspace control like we already cooperate when it comes to high altitude overflights. There is room for savings through cooperation. When we have the public consultations TCAA is better prepared to answer those questions and not put up a smokescreen’ said a regular aviation source from Dar es Salaam, broadly reflecting what other senior staff in the airline industry feel. This fait accompli as one other regular source put it, shows that the industry will be ambushed with double the previous cost, at literally no notice at all, since the consultations have been scheduled for next week already and the implementation of the new fees could then happen within weeks, once approved by the relevant oversight bodies and duly gazetted.

TCAA sources have in turn responded by pointing to the present fees being in place for over 10 years already. They also claim that the country is underserviced by land based navigational aids and beacons as well as radar coverage, all of which needed heavy investments to bring the country up to international standards after years of neglect.

Coupled with increased in park fees, added tax measures and high cost across the country to use backup generators when the main power supply fails, which is too often going by the complaints received here, one can expect that visiting Tanzania for safaris or beach holidays will definitely become more expensive in the short term already.

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