AIR TANZANIA GETS B737 ON LEASE
Sources in Dar es Salaam have confirmed that Air Tanzania is receiving a leased B737-500 to restart operations within Tanzania later today. With the crashed Bombardier Q300 out of service, the aircraft suffered from a bodged take off attempt in Kigoma some weeks ago as reported here, the jet will however only be able to fly to such destinations like Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Mwanza or Zanzibar, as most other airports and aerodromes are only able to cater for the landing of smaller turboprop aircraft, a fact now used by competitor Precision Air which is serving domestic destinations with their ATR fleet.
The aircraft, reportedly leased from a Dubai firm, will operate in a two class configuration of 12 business class and 96 economy class seats, and destinations and schedules are expected to be announced later today and posted on the company website www.airtanzania.co.tz.
Industry observers were quick to point out that the B737-500, while more economical to operate than the previous B737-200 model the airline once flew before crashing their last one in Mwanza, will still be more expensive to fuel than smaller jets of Bombardier or Embraer make and that the introduction of a jet limits the companys destination range to a few airports only within Tanzania, leaving much of the sprawling country to the competition.
Said one source in an overnight communication: After parliament has recently unearthed this massive plot over the lease of an Airbus some years back which left our government hanging with huge liabilities, they will surely start investigating this lease deal immediately too. The reputation of ATCL has gone to the dogs and they can expect that every single deal they now do will come under the spotlight. Parliament is just waiting to get a new scandal and the new minister is in a tricky position now. Lets wait and see how they manage that aircraft and what comes next.
Whichever is the case, it is in the best aviation tradition a Happy Landings for crews and passengers.