AIR TANZANIA TURNS TO BOMBARDIER / CANDADIAN GOVERNMENT FOR LOANS
Air Tanzania, presently flying a single Bombardier Q300 plane, has gotten creative in the face of adversity and reportedly approached the Canadian manufacturer with the aim to acquire aircraft from them, thought to be initially of CRJ200 makes. Usually well informed and reliable sources have mentioned, that in order to transform the new strategic plan of ATCL into action, the airline would require additional aircraft, preferably jets of smaller size to return to the market with a chance to financially survive, and the CRJ200 is already operating in the wider region with a measure of success for their respective operators.
Attempts by ATCL to dry or wetlease aircraft on the open market are presently constrained by the lack of sufficient cash, as lessors, wary of Air Tanzanias troubled past and huge outstanding and long overdue debts, would ask for very substantial upfront payments, something the airline in turn could not afford, limiting the options for them to expand their fleet.
Bombardier in turn is said to be keen to establish a greater presence in the region and the Canadian governments export credit agency would more than likely be on board to make a deal happen, as long as the Tanzanian government steps up and guarantees any loans in case of default.
That however may be the crunch issue as Tanzania, cash strapped too, may find it difficult to make a major financial commitment at this time, even if only as a guarantee, having found it already hard to pay for the heavy maintenance of the Q300 which was held by the AMO in South Africa for nonpayment for the most part of this year. A Canadian delegation, likely to include Bombardier and EDC staff, is expected to visit Dar es Salaam for talks with ATCL and government officials to discuss a framework under which a deal could be structured and implemented.
Meanwhile is Embraer also reportedly pushing itself into the frame, already having established a major presence in the East African market and being willing to offer smaller jets too, like from their successful E170 to E190 series. Embraer is generally being thought to be more flexible with export financing and can count on the full support of the Brazilian government to do export deals for their high tech manufacturing sector. Interesting times ahead, especially in view of the surrounding economic factors now playing out in Eastern Africa like inflation, slackening demand and empty government coffers. Watch this space.