Tanzanian leader commissions two new planes for national airline

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Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Wednesday commissioned two new commercial aircraft for the country’s ailing national carrier — Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL).

Commissioning the two brand new Canadian-made Bombardier-Dash Q400 planes, the President said the planes will play a major role towards reviving the airline which is operating on only one aircraft.

The two planes are owned by the government through its Tanzania Government Flight Agency and will be operated by ATCL on lease agreement.

Poor management, persistent corruption within ATCL, lack of discipline among workers were among reasons cited by President Magufuli for the downfall of the national carrier.

“These two planes are expected to fly in both local destinations and our neighbouring countries and boost the tourism industry,” said President Magufuli shortly before he commissioned the planes at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

He said his government has enough money to acquire two more 160 and 242-seater commercial aircraft for trans-Atlantic flights.

“We are in talks with various aircraft manufacturers across the world. These aircraft will be able to fly non-stop from Tanzania to the United States or to China and bring in tourists,” said Magufuli, in reference to the east African nation’s treasure trove of tourist attractions.

The president cautioned the ATCL management to be creative in running the airline saying the airline industry is becoming more competitive.

The Canadian Ambassador to Tanzania, Ian Myles, said Bombardier and ATCL have been working together for over 30 years and that the acquisition of the two planes proved the trust that the two companies have developed.

“Air transportation is key to economic growth, and Bombardier flights have proved to suit the African airports because they have best worked in this region,” said the Canadian envoy.

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