President John Magufuli disclosed this yesterday when receiving the second new Airbus A220-300 aircraft where he said the country would also renovate the idle presidential aircraft so as to transport passengers when they were not needed by government officials.
“This is not the last aircraft. We are waiting for another Dreamliner aircraft with the capacity to carry 262 passengers. We are buying another Dreamliner which is expected to jet in by the end of this year,” the president said.
The Airbus A220-300 plane which arrived yesterday, like other aircraft before it, has been leased to Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), the national carrier.
A similar plane was delivered from Canada last month, bringing the number of new aircraft so far purchased by the fifth phase government to six.
The president said besides increasing tourism, the aviation sector would also create jobs whereby it was currently employing over 102 airhostesses and over 60 pilots.
The president also said that Tanzania received about $1.3million owing to aircraft delivery delays from the Canadian firm while the other aircraft had to cost the firm $5,000 daily due to delays in dispatching it to the country.
“This money is now with the treasury. Some years back, this would not have happened because it would have been swindled by corrupt officials,” he said amid laughter from the audience.
According to the head of state, if you look at the history of some few planes, you will realize that there are some few national carriers in some countries which are owned by a few individuals despite being national carriers.
Air Tanzania is the first airline to operate an Airbus A220 in any of its variants in the African continent, and the fifth operator worldwide of the former Bombardier C series.
President Magufuli received the plane with a seating capacity of 141 passengers at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
“We are confident that we will expand our footprint in the growing African market and beyond,” said ATCL Managing Director Ladislaus Matindi.
In 2016, the Tanzanian government initiated a drive to revive the national carrier as part of a pledge made during the election campaign by President Magufuli the previous year.
Speaking shortly before he received the first Airbus A220-300 on December 23, last year, the president announced steps to revive an aircraft maintenance hangar at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) to enable it undertake maintenance overhaul for aircraft engines.
“Our plan is to make sure that overhauling of aircraft engines is done locally like in Ethiopia and South Africa,” he said.
Magufuli said the training of pilots and cabin crew would be jointly undertaken by state-owned National Institute of Transport (NIT) and ATCL.
Initially, said Magufuli, 16 aircraft engineers had already been trained at NIT, adding that plans were also afoot to acquire five training planes for NIT.
President Magufuli said his administration had already bought five brand new aircraft and leased them to ATCL to enable the national airline to compete both locally and globally.
In July, last year, President Magufuli received a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
- was established on March 11, 1977 after the break-up of the East African Airways, which had previously served the region.