Sunday, February 3, 2013

► TANZANIA: Government confirms in talks with Virgin Atlantic over possible London flights.

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The Tanzanian Government has confirmed it is in talks with British carrier Virgin Atlantic (VS) over the possible launch of flights between the United Kingdom and the East African country following British Airways (BA) decision to axe Dar es Salaam from its network effective 31 March.

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The possibility of Richard Branson's carrier starting direct UK-Tanzania flights following its own abandoning of the UK - Kenya market in September 2012, has been speculated about for some time.

The Director of Tourism, Mr Ibrahim Mussa, told the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam that the government has initiated talks with Virgin Atlantic:
"The Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport had initiated preliminary talks with the UK carrier, Virgin Atlantic, with hopes of reaching an agreement to take over the route left by the BA," he said.
Source [Daily News]
In addition to the loss of revenue, taxes and landing fees, British Airways is also credited as having been one of the "few airlines entrusted with shipping sensitive cargo including light weapons, local and foreign banknotes and minerals such as gold, diamonds and Tanzanite (a blue/purple gemstone of the mineral zoisite discovered in the Mererani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967) to the international markets."

British Airways' justification for the axing of the flights that "they don't make a profitable contribution to our business," was vindicated with surveys showing that "large number of tourists from UK were already using other airlines like Emirates (EK), Qatar Airways (QR) and Ethiopian Airlines (ET) which have daily flights to Tanzania."