Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli has ruled out the possibility that the government will protect Air Tanzania Limited (ATCL) even if it makes losses as it was the case with the defunct Air Tanzania.
Inaugurating the new Airbus A220-300 that arrived yesterday, the Presidenttold the ATCL management to ensure that the national flag carrier does not turn into a burden to tax payers.
“I will not hesitate to transfer ownership of ATCL aircraft and other assets, let us say to Precision Air in case the ATCL management fails to ensure that the public airline maintains high level of efficiency,” said the President.
He said ATCL should not operate in the same way as the old ATCL, eventually ending up as a loss making entity.
In another development, President Magufuli issued a directive to rebrand two old government planes so they can be operated by ATCL.
“I want the two fokker planes to be rebranded so that they can be used by Air Tanzania to boost its capacity,” he said.
The President also promised that the government will purchase two more aircraft, including another Dreamliner and Airbus between the end of this year and next January in its campign to revamp the national flag carrier.
“In the next 10 years I want the country to have at leat 100 aircraft in order for ATCL to compete with other foreign airlines on relatively equal footing,” he said.
The ATCL Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ladislaus Matindi said at the same occasion that the ATCL-Five Year Plan which kicked off in 2017, was going on well after the purchase of seven planes.
“It is possible to expand both local and internation market by embarking on more routes and flights,” said Mr Matindi.
According to him, the airline has recorded a number of achievements in the past three years, including increase of the number of pilots from 10 to 50 with a plan to recruit 10 more pilots before the end of this year, starting flights to Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, DR Congo and attaining a workforce of 380 at an average of 70 personnel per aircraft.
Under the Medium Plan for the next 20 years, ATCL has a vision to expand cargo services within the country and internationally with capacity to compete with international airlines flying to Far East, Europe and Americas.
Canadinan High Commissioner to Tanzania, PamelaO'Donnell said that the purchase of such modern aircrafts had signaled renewed co-operation between Canada and Tanzania that has lasted for decades since independence in 1961.
According to her, since independence Tanzania has benefited from200 billion Canadian Dollars support.
The colourful ceremony drew a number of dignitaries, including Prime Mister Kassim Majaliwa, the Minister responsible for Transport and Communications, Mr Issack Kamwelwe, the Chief Secretary, Mr Anthony Kijazi and others.