The Boeing Dreamliner is here!

08Jul 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
The Boeing Dreamliner is here!
  • It will finally land in Dar today afternoon, as it prepares to commence international flight route to India this September

THE much-awaited Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to beef up Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL) fleet, is expected to land in Dar es Salaam today. With the new airliner the national carrier is expected to launch a route to India in September, the first international route for ATCL.

President John Magufuli will lead Tanzanians during a special ceremony to receive the plane in the city at 2p.m.

The arrival of the new aircraft marks a significant milestone in government efforts to revive the state-owned airline and set in motion the drive to claim a share in the lucrative regional aviation market currently dominated by Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and Rwanda Air.

A statement from the State House Directorate of Communications availed to the media yesterday said the Dreamliner is scheduled to land at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) at around 2pm, coming from Seattle in the United States.

The aircraft, which is valued at $224.6 million (over Sh500bn), is one of seven planes procured by the government and it becomes the fourth one to arrive in the country.

According to Boeing, the 787 Dreamliner is a family of technologically advanced, super-efficient airplanes with new passenger-pleasing features.

ATCL Commercial and Business Development Director Patrick Ndekana was recently quoted as saying that the new airliner was expected to be the new flagship aircraft of the national carrier to fly to Mumbai, in India, as early as September.

“If everything goes as planned, we envisage starting flying to Mumbai in September,” Ndekana was quoted as saying.

According to him, a market evaluation for the India route showed beneficial results from booming medical tourism and trade connections with the Asian economic powerhouse.

The planned Mumbai route will also boost tourism in Tanzania from a potential lucrative Indian market in a revised marketing strategy which focuses on South-East Asia, the Pacific Rim, and South America.

ATCL plans also to take on other rival airlines in the money-making regional routes by de-ploying two Bombardier CS 300 jetliners which are expected to be delivered later this year.

Initially, ATCL will fly three times a week to Bujumbura, Burundi, via Kigoma, and four times a week to Entebbe, Uganda, via Kilimanjaro, to fill a critical void in the regional transport market and enhance regional economic integration.

Air Tanzania is one of the government flagship infrastructure development projects in a bid to transform the country into a regional transport hub.

The state-owned airline currently flies to Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, Mbeya, Mtwara, Mwanza, Tabora and Moroni, in the Comoros, increasing its market share from single to double digits in less than two years despite flying a few seats compared to rival airlines.

In July 2016, the government signed with Canadian Bombardier manufacturer a purchase agreement for the two Q400 turboprop planes.

The 76-seater aircraft, chiefly for commercial operations, were pegged at $62 million (over Sh140bn).The state further signed another $224.6 million (over Sh500bn) deal for one Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and jetliners CS300 to add up to the already delivered two Q400 planes.