AIR TANZANIA TO GET AIRBORNE AGAIN ON TUESDAY
The Tanzanian national airline, if that attribute at all can apply these days considering that the carrier was grounded for months at end and has a single turboprop plane, is due to return to the skies over Tanzania on Tuesday this week. After a massive bailout from government money which should have been spent to buy shares in Precision Air according to a well placed source in Dar es Salaam which helped to clear long overdue maintenance bills for the Bombardier Q 300 plane, the airline eventually managed to get their AOC restored and will resume flights tomorrow.
Tabora and Kigoma will be the first destinations ATCL will service from Dar es Salaam and their loads will be keenly monitored, by aviation analysts, their competitors and this correspondent to determine if at all the company can make a success out of it or not.
Sources in Tanzania, highly critical of the governments hot and cold attitude towards private enterprise, say the government should have spent their bail out money to acquire a significant share in Precision Air which only last Friday concluded a 3 week IPO to take a stake in a viable and well run airline worthy of flying the Tanzanian flag into the region and beyond, but some of our politicians are still rooted in the mindset of the 70s and the total influence of government over business. And then again, in the past government failed to give ATCL the money they needed when it was needed, leading to its temporary closure. Will that change considering that money is ever more tight? This is a case of political patronage, misguided national pride when there is nothing to be proud about and a mere window dress ahead of our 50 years of Independence. After that, lets wait and see how they manage, if they can get planes and offer a service to make travelers switch over from other airlines back to them.
The airline submitted an ambitious business plan to government last week, the latest in a long line of business plans all of which failed for a variety of reasons and probably a sign how gullible officials can be when they wish something to happen against the flow of reality.
That all said, Happy Landings nevertheless to ATCL, its single plane and their crews and passengers from here onwards.