Tanzania is planning major reforms of its national carrier — Air Tanzania — if the estimates of the national development plan budget for 2021/22 presented in Parliament on February 7 is anything to go by.
The government expects to buy two more planes — a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 — in the new financial year.
The purchase of three is 90 percent complete, two of these being an Airbus A220-300 and a De Havilland Dash 8-400. The purchase of the three aircraft will bring the national carrier fleet to 12.
Presenting the estimate budget on February 8 in Parliament for the 2021/22 fiscal year, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Phillip Mpango, said in the 2019/2020 period, Tsh315.2 billion ($134 million) was used in reforming the aviation sector. About Tsh2.5 billion ($1.08 million) was spent in first quarter of 2020/21.
At the same time, the government undertook the development of the airport expansion such as in Geita, currently at 49 percent implementation, as well as the rehabilitation of the Msalato International Airport in Dodoma which is expected to cost $330 million.
Other projects are expansion of four local airports in Shinyanga, Kigoma, Tabora and Sumbawanga which would cost about 50 million euros.
Also in the works is the expansion of Musoma airport, the runway of the Dodoma airport and the installation of aeronautical ground lighting (AGL) at Dodoma, Mwanza, and Tabora airports.
Also planned are the expansion and renovation to be carried out at Bukoba, Mwanza, Arusha, Nachingwea and Iranga airports. In 2019/20, Tsh56.1 billion ($24.2 million) was used and Tsh4.5 billion ($1.9 million) in the first quarter of 2020/21.
The government bought four aviation radars for civilian planes, which were installed at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro International Airport, Songwe and Mwanza airports.
ATCL has signed agreements for international routes especially in the Far East, to promote the country’s tourist potential.
Chief executive Ladislaus Matindi told The EastAfrican the country is currently receiving flights of 12 international airlines out of the 19 formally registered to operate in the country. These are Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Fly Dubai, Egypt Air, Swiss International Air Lines, RwandAir, Kenya Airways and Uganda Airlines.
“Uganda Airlines becomes the latest to resume flights to the country,” he said.
Despite huge losses, ATCL has resumed regional flights across Africa in six countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Burundi and South Africa routes following a decline in Covid-19 cases.