Dar es Salaam-based Air Tanzania is thinking of adding more Airbus A220 aircraft to its current fleet. The news of the expansion comes amidst the current COVID-19 medical emergency, with many airlines looking to consolidate rather than expand. Former Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who passed away last month, had big plans for state-owned Air Tanzania.
Like many a leader in underdeveloped counties, John Magufuli planned to use the state and the state alone to bring prosperity to the African nation. Hellbent on promoting outrageous mega infrastructure projects during his 2015 election campaign, Magufuli promised to revive Air Tanzania and make it an airline the nation could be proud of.
Three more planes
In 2019 Air Tanzania also announced that it would get another Bombardier DHC-8-400 and a further two Airbus A220s. As yet, there has been no news about when the two A220s will be delivered. Austrian aviation website aeroTELEGRAPH claims they will be delivered sometime this year or next.
During an address before Parliament on April 13, Tanzania’s new Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said that the government had paid for the new aircraft and that they would be arriving during the 2021/2022 financial year.
The Prime Minister also complimented Air Tanzania for launching its Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR)- Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) route. He called the flights between Tanzania and China as being a catalyst for boosting tourism, trade, and employment.
Tanzania wants to entice tourists
Tanzania is a country with astounding wildlife, seductive Indian Ocean beaches, and natural wonders that include Africa’s hights mountain Kibo (Uhuru Pk) in the Eastern Rift mountains. Seeing Tanzania’s potential for tourism, Magufuli decided that Tanzania would need to have an airline with a modern plane fleet to entice visitors.
True to his word, in September 2016, Air Tanzania took delivery of two Bombardier DHC-8-400s, followed up by two more on April 2, 2019. Air Tanzania also received an Airbus A220-300 in December 1018 and a second in January 2019. As well as the Airbus jets, Air Tanzania took delivery of its first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in July 2018 and its second in October of 2019.
Aviation enthusiast website Planespotters.net lists Air Air Tanzania as having a fleet of eight aircraft with an average age of 3.3 years old.
Air Tanzania lost $26 million in 2019/2020
This latest optimism regarding the state-owned airline comes at a challenging time for Air Tanzania who, according to the Tanzania Court of Auditors, has lost Sh150 billion ($60 million) over the past five years, with Sh 60 billion ($26 million) of the losses incurred during the 2019/2020 financial year.
Again another vanity project appears to be spiraling out of control, and with Kassim Majaliwa closely aligned with Magufuli’s projects, it appears as though Air Tanzania is going to get its new aircraft. Of course, there are other politicians in Tanzania that can see the folly, while others cling on to John Magufuli’s big dream for the country.
What do you think about Air Tanzania taking deliveries of new planes now when airliners around are struggling to survive? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.