Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli on Wednesday commissioned two new passenger planes for Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) and reminded the company’s management of the tough task ahead of reviving the national carrier.
The two Canadian-made aircraft are expected to lay the foundation for ATLC’s return as a competitive player in air transport both domestically and regionally.
President Magufuli said plans were afoot to purchase two more planes capable of carrying 160 and 240 passengers respectively.
The Head of State challenged the ATCL management to turn the struggling firm around and ensure it operated profitably.
Mr Ladislaus Matindi was recently appointed ATCL Director General and the firm has a new board of directors chaired by Mr Emmanuel Korosso.
Chief Secretary John Kijazi earlier said the government had played its part in the plan in the revival of ATCL by purchasing the aircraft, adding that it was now up to the firm’s management to come up with a workable strategy to turn the carrier into a viable commercial entity.
“The company needs to come up with a strategy that will help it run commercially and profitably. The challenges are known and now is the time to tackle them head-on,” he said.
The two planes are owned by the State through the Tanzania Government Flight Agency which will in turn lease them to ATCL.
President Magufuli said the government opted for the arrangement to ensure that the planes would not be operated in the “business-as-usual style that killed ATCL in the first place.”
“I’m going to be quite frank today so that the new management knows exactly what lies ahead and what we expect of them.
“The board members and the director general were picked carefully so that they can act on our behalf to clean up and revive ATCL. It is a daunting task, and we will carefully assess their performance in our endeavour to turn the airline around,” Dr Magufuli said.
He added that the airline should not give complimentary tickets to anyone, including himself.
Dr Magufuli blamed poor management, embezzlement and corruption for ATCL’s demise.
He said embezzlement and outright theft of company funds were especially rife at ATCL’s offices in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Mtwara and the Comoros.