POLITICAL ANGER ADDS TO ATCL WOES
The recently reported failure of Air Tanzania to secure a leased plane to maintain operations while their Bombardier turboprop Q300 was first grounded for quite a while and then flown to South Africa for heavy maintenance, has now also caused repercussions from the political side of things.
The transport minister in Dar es Salaam over the weekend condemned the airline’s management for literally putting the carrier out of business while constantly begging for money from government, yet they could not generate any income towards meeting even their monthly recurrent expenses.
C-checks, in form of an added explanation, are not just happening but are part of an ongoing maintenance programme to keep an aircraft ‘airworthy’, and take place after either a certain number of hours flown by the craft or else come due when a maximum period of time has lapsed since the last such check. These details are known to management as part of the regular reporting by respective department to the Managing Director, and an airline source in Dar es Salaam minced no words when he called this situation: ‘totally avoidable and totally negligent’ before adding that ‘in any privately owned airline those responsible would be sacked for cause’.
To make matters worse however the minister then recited past assurances that government would soon find a strategic investor in ATCL, leaving however the key question unanswered who in his right mind would wish to invest in a company which has lost all its market share, has a troublesome reputation in regard of union influence, is facing multiple lawsuits from suppliers and travel agents and is, and has been, for all practical purposes totally broke.
Hence the parting comment of another aviation source in Tanzania who said: ‘it is time government faces reality here. They [management] are unable to keep this thing flying, they have lost to Precision and Fly 540 Tanzania and even other smaller airlines like Coastal Aviation, and they have no place in our skies any longer. This company has time and again eaten our taxes and we got no value in return, so they should close it down wind it up’.