ATCL Board Chairman Eng. Emmanuel Korosso said the demoted directors had poor educational qualifications that could not enable them to be creative and innovative enough in the current growing and fiercely competitive aviation business.
“As ATCL has put in place an interim business plan with a new organizational structure, the airline feels that it is high time it employed a calibre of highly qualified personnel,” Korosso told a news conference in Dar es Salaam.
The chairman said ATCL’s new business plan was to be implemented in eight months from September 2016 to June 2017.
He mentioned the demoted personnel as Director of Business, Director of Operations, Director of Finance, Technical Director and Director of Safety.
“The demoted directors will be given duties commensurate with their academic qualifications,” said Korosso, adding that their new posts would not be at managerial level.
He said the ATCL board had directed the airline’s chief executive officer to immediately announce job vacancies to fill the posts, including, where possible, in-house promotion of competent employees.
In another development, Korosso said the board had also directed the ATCL management to stop with immediate effect issuance of free or reduced fare air tickets to the airline’s staff.
He said the board granted an exemption for ATCL staff and their families to be given discounted air tickets once a year during the festive season.
“But there will be no other free or reduced price air tickets for ATCL staff or anybody else for that matter,” stressed Korosso.
For his part, ATCL Managing Director and CEO Ladislaus Matindi said the airline had trained four pilots and four others were expected to finish their training at the end of this month.
He said this would enable the airline to increase flights to Mwanza, Bukoba and Mbeya.
“The final phase of training pilots is expected to end in mid-December and bring to 13 the number of ATCL pilots, thus enabling us to add trips to Kilimanjaro, Mtwara, Dodoma and Tabora,” said Matindi.
ATCL resumed flights last month after it had received two Bombardier Q400 aircraft, which the government bought from Canada. With the two planes, ATCL is currently flying to Mwanza, Arusha, Zanzibar, Kigoma and Moroni in Comoro.
ATCL recently announced plans to lay off an estimated 200 employees as part of its efforts to revamp the struggling airline.
The redundancy exercise, which will affect 90 per cent of the airline’s workforce, is aimed at implementing President John Magufuli’s directive to the new management to boost efficiency and send home all ineffective workers.
ATCL Managing Director Matindi said the airline was in the process of suspending workers who can’t cope with its current working ethos and speed.
“We have a good number of employees but only a few are efficient enough. We are filtering them so we can remain with the best personnel,” Matindi said.
He said the company currently had a total of 221 employees, which was too big for the airline.
Matindi cited some of the criteria to be used in laying off employees as working experience, academic qualifications and customer care aptitude. He said the exercise would touch each of the airline’s sections, including managers and directors.
“We are determined to improve our services. We can only achieve that by working with experienced, educated and dedicated staff. Experienced staff without good customer service attitude will also be removed,” he said.
There are unconfirmed reports that the airline has already suspended almost all workers at its Comoro and Mwanza offices as part of the staff¬-culling exercise.
Speaking at a recent function to receive the two new Bombardier Q400 planes, President Magufuli singled out the two regional offices as points of massive fraud being conducted through the issuance of tickets meant for children to be used by adults.
He directed the new ATCL management to retrench workers who could not cope with his ‘speed’ in terms of work ethics and efficiency.
In his one year in office, the president has made the restoration of ATCL to a competitive airline one of his government’s priority concerns.
Plans are now afoot for the national carrier to have at least two jet planes – an Airbus A330¬200 and a Bombardier CS 300 - by 2018.