Air Tanzania aircraft remains impounded in Johannesburg


(Posted 01st September 2019)


(Impounded Air Tanzania Airbus A220 seen yesterday under lock and key in Johannesburg)

ATCNews had reported about the seizure of an aircraft owned by the Tanzanian government after landing in Johannesburg, at the time leaning towards suggestions that an old debt, which is still being claimed for that matter, by South African Airways, was the cause for the legal action.
It later then emerged that it was in fact a case brought against the Tanzanian government over the expropriation and nationalisation of property owned by a South African national, dating back decades.
The Tanzanian government opted to own the aircraft procured by them, vest them in a different parastatal body and then lease them on to Air Tanzania. The reason for that was that aircraft owned by Air Tanzania would be under threat over their own massive legacy debts and could face confiscation in several jurisdictions.
The Tanzanian government had to go through a similarily embarassing situation when a newly purchased Bombardier Q400 was impounded in Canada prior to the delivery flight, also for debt owed by Tanzania to the private sector.
The situation was eventually resolved after several months and similar efforts are now taking place to get the impounded Airbus A220 released in South Africa.
Diplomatic intervention to have the court order overturned however have so far failed as the South African judiciary is not subject to instructions from above and due process is required, including petitioning the High Court, going as far as a full hearing to determine the merits of an application to free the aircraft.
Given the massive nature of the claim against the Tanzanian government however they may have to put up a cash deposit – too many failed assurances of payment have made their word almost worthless when it comes to such cases – in order to have the aircraft released, after which the case and claim brought against them can then unfold in court.
Watch this space.