IS THE DELIVERY OF TWO BOMBARDIER Q400NG AIRCRAFT TO AIR TANZANIA THE PRECURSOR FOR MORE THINGS TO COME?
(Posted 28th August 2016)
September marks a watershed for Air Tanzania, as the national airline, reportedly boosted by a massive injection of capital by the government, will for the first time in a generation receive two brand new aircraft.
The government of Tanzania has settled for the state of the art Bombardier Q400NG’s in an all economy 76 seat configuration, an aircraft type with proven performance in Africa where Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir and Jambojet already operate a combined 19 such planes while across the continent ASKY, an Ethiopian partner airline, operates a further three such birds.
The two new aircraft, when delivered, will bring the ATCL fleet to three, joining an existing Bombardier Q300 which has been in service for some time.
Aviation pundits are now looking ahead into the near and medium term future of Air Tanzania, after the government has made the principal decision to revive the carrier.
Three aircraft, while a good start, will clearly not be enough to effectively serve the sprawling East African nation leave alone to commence flights into the region again. It is understood from two conversations yesterday that the Tanzanian government, and the airline, are now studying already the next phase of fleet expansion with the aim to add more aircraft and very likely short / medium haul jets.
If one goes by the example of other airlines, sticking to one manufacturer would make a lot of sense vis a vis technical, maintenance and training support, all key elements in keeping cost low and cashing in on brand loyalty.
Bombardier in fact has suitable larger aircraft available, starting from the CRJ 700 to the CRJ900 – the type RwandAir operates – and of course the latest jet aircraft of Bombardier, the C series, which only last month entered service with Swiss, a member of the Lufthansa group.
No doubt will other manufacturers like Embraer also try to get the foot in the door, as will Boeing and perhaps even Airbus, but conventional wisdom has it that Bombardier will be in pole position when all facts are on the table and a decision will be taken which aircraft type to order next.
Exciting times ahead for sure so keep watching this space for updates on breaking and regular news from East Africa’s aviation scene.