Dar es Salaam. Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) has been overly ambitious to get a bigger share of the regional aviation business resulting in increased demand for its operational aircraft, the company said yesterday.
This was revealed as ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi sought to explain occasions when the company was forced to cancel or delay flights.
There have been mounting complaints, especially via social media, from passengers flying Air Tanzania who have voiced their concerns over delays or cancellations of flights, sometimes without warning.
Through Twitter and Facebook some travellers have expressed their frustrations at how they were kept waiting at airports for hours and sometimes missing their appointments due to disruptions of flights.
Mr Matindi said: “We’re expanding our network and maybe we were a bit overambitious in putting plans but we are confident that we will be right on the track once we reach the target number of our aircraft fleet in 2022.”
He said at times aircraft developed technical problems that forced the company to delay or cancel flights to ensure that particular plane was properly maintained to avert any risks on the part of passengers.
Mr Matindi explained that at the moment they operate seven aircraft: Boeing Dreamliner, Airbus, Bombardier and two Fokker planes, which are currently being developed to suit the company needs.
However, he noted that the government was still in the process of procuring more aircraft targeting to reach 14 at which level their operations would run smoothly.
The chief said that apart from domestic routes they also fly to Comoro, Entebbe in Uganda, Lusaka in Zambia, Harare in Zimbabwe and Mumbai in India.
According to him, they also expected to resume their flights to South Africa once the safety issues at the destination would have been settled.
Regarding the domestic market share, he said they were able to exceed their initial expectation of 40 per cent and gone overboard to 75 per cent.
Meanwhile, speaking about their plans for transporting cargo, he said their strategic plan was to use aircraft that transport both passengers and cargo.
According to him what lacked in passengers was compensated by cargo.
“We are also planning a delegation to go to India to undertake a search to understand what their requirements are on cargo,” he said.
Regarding the Mpanda route, Mr Matindi noted that at the moment they have one weekly trip but due to its geographical location they have to adhere to the maximum take-off height.