ATCL ANNOUNCES OCTOBER 10 TO RESUME OPERATIONS
Aviation observers in Tanzania are watching with keen interest how, or rather if, Air Tanzania will be able to make good of their latest announcement that they intend to resume operations by October 10th.
After the usual noise, when introducing an ageing B737-500 leased from a Dubai aviation firm on what a regular source from Dar es Salaam at the time described as ‘killer terms and conditions’ the airline only weeks into the lease grounded the aircraft, when the true cost of the operation became apparent, not that they had not been warned of course.
The same source overnight confirmed that negotiations between ATCL and Aero Vista of Dubai, the lessors of the aircraft, have been dragging on, aimed to reduce the charges agreed to in the original contract.
Earlier in the year had a web of deceit if not outright fraud, but for certain total incompetence been revealed when a parliamentary committee dug up the true cost for the Tanzanian government, which has given guarantees to ATCL for the lease of an Airbus A320 some years ago, leading to the sacking of the transport minister at the time and subsequent ‘restructuring’ of the airline’s top management.
Still, another unsustainable lease was signed, leaving ATCL now exposed to significant claims by the lessors if not being paid. ‘They announced they will start again next week but who knows what is true. Their turboprop Q300 is according to information I got also being repaired but after that accident will need a full inspection to be made airworthy again. And the Boeing, how will they get back into the game on the route to Kilimanjaro and Dar the way they treated booked passengers when they decided to stop flights in August? They cannot be trusted at all. I think this is all a big rush to beat FastJet to the door because when those guys will start flying, they will blitz the market with fares and incentives and all and ATC will be left to wonder what hit them. Precision has increased flights to Arusha and Mwanza already when ATC stopped flying. Our government should wake up and face reality, ATC is a dead horse and feeding it tax money is a waste’ said another source from Dar es Salaam overnight, when discussing the issues surrounding the latest attempt to revive the moribund state airline.
After injecting yet more money into ATCL earlier this year to pay for wages, utilities and rents the government is presently considering its options vis a vis the airline, which according the transport minister Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe needs to either perform or risk being finally shut down. Watch this space for regular and breaking news from East Africa’s aviation industry.