With Airbus A220, Tanzania ready for battle for the skies

Saturday December 29 2018

Air Tanzania Airbus A220

Air Tanzania's Airbus A220. The airline is the first in African to fly this type of Airbus aircraft. PHOTO | AIRBUS 

By MICHAEL WAKABI
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National carrier Air Tanzania Company Ltd continued on its decade-long path to revival with the delivery last week of the first of two Airbus A220 aircraft. A sister aircraft is expected in January 2019.

The Tanzanian flag carrier has been trying to regroup since 2008, but its network has been mainly domestic.

In addition to about a dozen domestic destinations, ATCL has recently added Bujumbura, Entebbe and Comoros to its destinations, with further plans to fly to Mumbai, India.

Chief executive Ladislaus Matindi says that the A220 is a growth aircraft that will be used to open new routes within Africa.

“With the addition of the A220 to our fleet, we are confident that we will expand our footprint in the growing African market and beyond, as we unlock additional routes,” he said during a ceremony to receive the aircraft from the manufacturer last week.

Growing frequency

Executives from the Tanzania Government Flight Agency and Air Tanzania received the aircraft from the manufacturer’s final assembly line in Mirabel, Canada, on December 21, with the ferry flight touching down in Dar es Salaam on December 23.

The delivery brought Tanzania’s active fleet to six aircraft, comprising four propeller-driven Bombardier Dash-8s, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and now the A220.

With a range just over 5,000km, the A220 will bring many points in Central and West Africa within range of Air Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam base, while giving the carrier a low-risk option to venture into the Middle East or grow frequency on existing domestic and international routes.

ATCL now expects another two aircraft, one Dash-8-Q400 and an additional A220. While the A220 comes in two versions, ATCL opted for the bigger A220-300, which seats 130-150 passengers.

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