Breaking News – Revival of Air Tanzania hangs in balance


The Tanzanian transport minister earlier in the week claimed to have several interested parties willing to invest in moribund Air Tanzania, the erstwhile national airline now literally broke and being sued in South Africa and elsewhere for multi million US Dollars claims. The minister reportedly would not be drawn into these pressing issues, nor into the fact that the airline is barely operating a minimum schedule, but expressed optimism that when the time was right he would be able to make an announcement.

Previous such assurances, that a Chinese suitor would step in and take over ATCL, proved to be empty promises as upon closer scrutiny and due diligence all interested parties found out that the airline was a hornet’s nest. Union demands and power, huge debts, political interference and an almost total loss of market share to rival Precision Air, and more recently to Fly 540 (T) will make an investment in ATCL a huge gamble, and aviation observers, analysts and consultants are only too well aware of this, ready to impart with relevant details and appropriate advice to anyone wishing to put in funds.

Five years ago erstwhile partner South African Airways was shown the door, and suffered huge losses in the process, making any new partners even more wary what their fate will be, should they not be able to please their political masters in Dar. Meanwhile have the other stakeholders in Tanzania’s aviation industry also expressed doubts that any serious bid should be expected for ATCL, which over past years, besides the problems already described, also suffered the indignity to have their Air Operator Certificate suspended for several weeks over allegation of ‘issues with documentation’ – a polite phrase that not all was well at all at the time, before then suffering a write off of their B737-200 when it crash landed in Mwanza.

And, while not going officially on record, one regular source from Dar did say this: ‘why our government cannot support Precision Air remains a mystery to us. We suspect that there are people who want to ‘eat’ and are denied because Precision is a private company. They wanted to float their shares on our stock exchange to widen shareholder base in Tanzania, and that was also temporarily stopped when they were sued, but we suspect this was another move to frustrate them. Even their hangar has not been connected by taxiway to the rest of the building, and this all shows how our government when they have vested interests, treat investors. If ATC gets a new big investor there are people who hope to eat big from it, and that is all there is to it’.

It was also learned that opposition members of parliament have already voiced their opposition too to waste state resources on a failed company and vowed to speak up against any injection of multi million dollar bail out packages for the airline, should it be brought to parliament.

Ooops is about all which comes to mind!!!