Firms fight for exclusive rights at Zanzibar airport terminal

Wednesday January 18 2023
Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport

Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. A legal wrangle has ensued over the granting of exclusive rights to a Dubai-based company for access to a new terminal. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Dar es Salaam

The saga involving exclusive rights for access to a new terminal granted by the Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) to Dubai National Air Travel Agency (Dnata) took a new twist Tuesday after another company filed a case at the High Court of Tanzania.

Transworld Aviation Limited submitted a petition at the High Court of Tanzania challenging the granting of exclusive rights to Dnata.

However, a legal wrangle ensued as soon as the case came up Tuesday, compelling Judge Sekela Moshi to prematurely recuse herself from handling the matter.

On September 14, 2022, ZAA issued a directive which gave the Dubai-based company exclusive access to the new terminal which was constructed at a cost of $120 million.

Order to vacate terminal


The order by ZAA gave ground handling firms that used to operate at Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport until December 1, 2022 to vacate the newly constructed Terminal III, and instructed airlines to plan to work with Dnata.

Speaking shortly after filing the lawsuit, Transworld Aviation’s legal and investment director Peter Madeleka said that the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) and the Attorney-General are the first and second respondents respectively.

“The Transworld Aviation, the applicant in this matter, has brought an application at the High Court of Tanzania’s main registry for the purpose of seeking court orders of mandamus, sociale and prohibition,” he explained.

According to Madeleka, they were taken by surprise as the respondents came with an objection saying the matter was a waste of the court’s precious time.

“We were of the view that it was improper for any issue which is to be determined by the court to be brought at this very early stage of mentioning,” Mdekela urged.

No confidence in judge

Through lawyer Mdekela, Transworld Aviation expressed lack of confidence with Judge Moshi who was presiding over the application.

“We asked the presiding judge to recuse herself because the applicant had no confidence in her, and we thank God that the judge has disqualified herself from determination of that particular application,” he noted.

With the exclusive rights granted to Dnata on September 14, 2022, it is reported that airlines that ply the Zanzibar route have already started withdrawing from the existing ground handlers as directed by ZAA.

Details that The Citizen has seen indicated that Transworld was the first victim of the directive after two airlines it was serving gave notices of stopping using its services.

In November 2021, Dnata signed a contract with authorities in Zanzibar to provide ground handling services at newly built Terminal 3 at the airport.

As part of the contract, two other Emirates’ subsidiaries, Emirates Leisure Retail and MMI, will operate all 13 retailers and two lounges in the terminal. These include restaurants, duty free and commercial outlets.