Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) is set to resume its flights after leasing a Boeing 737-500 plane expected to arrive in the country today, a statement released by the company yesterday has said.
The 108-seater aircraft has been leased from Aero Vista of Dubai and has already undergone inspection by a team of experts from the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) in Cairo, Egypt, where the aircraft was flown to from Dubai last week.
“Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority experts have completed inspection of the plane in Cairo, Egypt and the plane will be flown into Tanzania today after approval has been granted for it to operate in the country,” the statement said.
It added: “The plane that has already been branded with ATCL corporate colours is configured to carry 12 passengers in the business class and 96 others in the economy class.”
ATCL Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Paul Chizi speaking to reporters few weeks ago in Dar es Salaam hinted on the acquisition plans of the plane but did not give details and specifications.
He however noted that the acquisition of the plane was rather a short-term plan to enhance the firm’s service delivery, urging that the airline has got a long-term plan that will be implemented accordingly.
In April this year, all 35 passengers and crew aboard an ATCL flight ‘Ft 119’ from Kigoma to Dar es Salaam cheated death after the plane crashed on take-off at the world’s second deepest lake-side town.
Speaking after the accident, Kigoma Acting Regional Police Commander Kihenya Kihenya, said the plane had apparently failed to take off and instead run into a grass patch off the runway.
Commander Kihenya said the plane, a DASH 8, Q300 was being flown by Capt Emmannuel Mshana, assisted by Capt Mbwali Masesa and was to fly to the country’s commercial capital via Tabora.
Meanwhile, speaking after the incident, former Deputy Transport minister Athuman Mfutakamba was quoted as saying ATCL management had the mandate to hire another plane from any company to ensure reliable services to its customers.
“They are free to hire another plane to replace the damaged one…we are waiting for their recommendations on how to improve the services,” he said.
ATCL resumed service in November last year with one of its planes, a Bombadier Dash 8, Q300 that was undergoing maintenance in South Africa after being grounded for a couple of months.
In 2009, the government rescued the national flag carrier from financial doldrums with the disbursement of a second bailout package to the tune of 4.5bn/-.
The firm has experienced a series of problems since its marriage with “strategic investor” South African Airline (SAA) that collapsed in 2006.