A Government strategy that was designed to provide emergency assistance to the struggling national Tanzania air transport carrier, namely the Air Tanzania Company Limited (ACTL), was revealed at a recent press conference in Dar es Salaam.
This rescue plan involves handing over control of the airline to a strategic investor in order for them to take over the operations of both the company and possibly to take over the multi-billion shilling project for the expansion of the Julius Myerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam as well.
According to the managing director for the ACTL, David Mattaka, the management team for the airline has been working very diligently in order to meet the requirements of the International Association of Air Transport (IAAT) in order for the company to re-open regular business operations as soon as possible.
In addition, Mr. Mattaka indicated that, contrary to prior claims that the license had been revoked due to safety and security violations, the company’s operating license was actually suspended because it had failed to meet the new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.
“We would like to emphasize that deficiencies in the documentations have nothing to do with flight safety,” said Mr. Mattaka, “at no point in time have our passengers been at risk.”
Mr. Mattaka went on to say that he believes that the future direction of the airline will likely be determined in within the next 10 days.
“It now remains for the [Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority] TCAA to satisfy themselves with the documentation and to re-issue the license,” he said, “they have indicated verbally that they will probably require ten working days to review the documents.”
Mr. Mattaka estimated that the suspension would cost the airline approximately 300 million shillings in lost business per week, but was apologetic to the airline’s customers for the inconvenience that they were experiencing due to this setback and assured them that all short term bookings would be refunded and long term bookings would be reserved.
In addition, the Minister for Infrastructure Development, Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa, has said that the Government has already opened further discussions with a prospective private investor for the airline.
According to Dr. Kawambwa, it is too early to reveal the name if the investor, but insisted that negotiations were, indeed, underway.
“I can assure you now that the Government is negotiating with a prospective investor who has shown willingness to take over operations of ATCL and to invest in the airport expansion,” said Dr. Kawambwa at the foundation-laying ceremony for the prospective new TCAA headquarters building in Dar es Salaam.
Dr. Kawambwa went on to say that the Government was determined to fast-track negotiations with and investor who would be able to breathe new life back into the once prosperous airline.
“We want to have an investor who will be able to bring ATCL back to life and offer quality and competitive services,” he said.