PLANS FOR SELF MAINTENANCE RAISE SERIOUS SAFETY CONCERNS
An announcement earlier in the week by financially crippled Air Tanzania, that they were intending to maintain their presently single aircraft, a Bombardier Q300, at their home base in Dar es Salaam, has raised immediate concerns over compliance with Airworthiness Directives. The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority has to grant a license to anyone wanting to maintain aircraft as a MRO, a maintenance and repair organization. There are globally very stringent requirements in place and TCAA must comply with ICAO regulations or risk sanctions. No airline company can just wake up one day and say we have to save money here and there and therefore we now do our own maintenance. It requires qualified personnel approved and licensed to work on that particular aircraft type, the right tools, all the required manuals and files from manufacturers. All I am saying is that this is not an easy process and even Precision Air still send their planes for big maintenance works to other facilities which are better equipped. Cost cutting as a reason for shifting repairs inhouse is the wrong reason to say, saying we buy spares now and fix them ourselves, well, opens the door to so many questions. Just recall that Air Tanzania lost their AOC over allegation of variances in record keeping, so make up your own mind where this is leading to said a regular aviation source in Dar es Salaam when discussing the matter yesterday.
It could not be ascertained what, if any maintenance license TCAA may have granted Air Tanzania and to what level of repairs and maintenance such a license would extend, though there is speculation that if any it may only cover line maintenance including work scopes up to A-checks but not heavy maintenance or more complex work which would require technicians, tools and facilities the airline has clearly not been able to invest in due to lack of funds overall. Travelers will be wary of reading such stories considering the thankfully non fatal accident Air Tanzania had in Mwanza with their last remaining B737-200 aircraft some time ago. Watch this space.