Dar es Salaam. Newly reinvigorated ATCL has kicked up a frenzy of airline revivals across the region and beyond.
This comes at a time when analysts are of the view that the revival of Tanzania’s national carrier would upend the market that had virtually been dominated by the likes of Kenya Airways. Available information has it that a number of countries are now reviving their national carriers.
In the event, cutthroat competition awaits the airlines in their endeavour to expand their routes in the East and Central African regions as the countries involved embark on plans to boost their tourism sectors through reinvigorated air transport.
Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam during an official tour of duty on Thursday August 09, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni revealed that his government has embarked upon plans to revive the national Air Uganda in a bid to improve the country’s aviation services, thereby also promoting the tourism sector.
He said a revived Air Uganda would embark on offering local, regional and international flights to and from different destinations.
“We are planning to revive (our national airline) so that we can start flying to various destinations – including China,” the Ugandan Head of State said.
Elsewhere, the Zambian government and Ethiopian Airlines signed a deal in January this year whereby the latter acquired a 45 per cent stake in Zambia Airways.
Ethiopia’s state-owned flag carrier – which is ranked by the International Air Transport Association (Iata) as the largest airline in Africa by revenue and profit – is in talks with a number of airline companies across the continent. The general idea is to acquire stakes in those companies, as well take over operational management, starting with national and regional flights before going international.
The Tanzanian airliner recently added a fourth aircraft to its thitherto depleted fleet, with a view to reviving its aviation operations following the fifth-phase government’s determination spearheaded by President John Magufuli to revive the national carrier.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam during a joint press conference with his Ugandan counterpart, President Magufuli reiterated his government’s determination to continue purchasing airplanes for ATCL.
“We have already bought seven aircraft in a bid to revive our national airline. Four out of the seven have been delivered, and we are awaiting delivery of the remaining three,” he said.
The imminent competition at the regional level comes at a time when the three main air transport operators in Tanzania are already employing various marketing techniques to increase their market share – or at least cling onto what share they already held.
During the past few weeks, ATCL and PrecisionAir launched promotions that are intended to cut down fares for travellers between Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Mwanza.
In that regard, ATCL cut the fares on its Dar es Salaam-Kilimanjaro-Mwanza and Dar es Salaam-Mwanza routes effective July 29 when the airline started using the newly acquired Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
For its part, Fastjet announced promotional gimmicks in the forms of free entertainment aboard flights, and an increase in the carryon baggage allowance from 5 to 23 kilogrammes per traveller.
How the other airlines in the region – Kenya Airways and RwandAir – will respond to all that remains to be seen.