Wednesday, October 3, 2012

► TANZANIA: Air Tanzania set to reach new deal with AeroVista; to resume flights next week, but at what cost?

Air TanzaniaTanzanian national carrier Air Tanzania (TC) is looking to resume flights by 10 October, should it reach an agreement with Dubai based ACMI specialists AeroVista, from whom they leased a Boeing 737-500 (MSN 27354 | 4L-AJB).

Recently, AeroVista were awarded their Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority for its Boeing 737s. The certificate is essentially an approval granted from a national aviation authority to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes.

AeroVista's 737 in Air Tanzania livery
AeroVista's 737 in Air Tanzania livery
In August, the airline grounded operations after it claimed the original contract with AeroVista signed in May, neither conformed  with "Tanzanian Government pre-requisites" nor benefited the Tanzanian carrier who claimed that any profit being made by the airline was ploughed back into paying AeroVista and operational expenses. Since then, the Tanzanian government has injected USD3.1million into the national carrier to pay for aircraft maintenance, operations as well as the salaries of the 200 or so workers.

According to Air Tanzania's acting Commercial director, Mwanamvua Ngocho, who spoke to Tanzania's daily paper, The Citizen, negotiations are at an advanced stage with both parties keen on reaching a mutually beneficial solution:
“Another meeting with Aero Vista is planned for Friday. This will conclude and give the contract final touches. Our plans are to resume operations before October 10,” said Ms Ngocho.

TC's only other aircraft, a 50-seater Dash 8Q-300, is said to be in good nick and ready to resume ops next week as well. Air Tanzania says it is also negotiating with as yet unknown commercial banks in the hopes of acquiring two new aircraft with a targeted delivery date of "early 2013".

How a weary Tanzanian public will respond to an inconsistent Air Tanzania's resumption remains to be seen. In May, TC was forced to offer fares that were far below market norms in order to capture any part of the market from rivals Precision Air (PW); a strategy that backfired as noted above.