Dar es Salaam. The Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) launched its maiden direct flight from Dar es Salaam to Mumbai, India, on Wednesday this week.
This comes only a month after the national carrier launched a direct flight from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg in South Africa.
This latest development brings to seven ATCL’s number of international routes.
Other international routes are for Comoro, Bujumbura (Burundi), Entebbe (Uganda), Lusaka (Zambia), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Johannesburg (South Africa).
ATCL’s recently acquired Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner departed the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal-III in Dar es Salaam for Mumbai at 7.30pm – and slated to arrive to India at 12.50am East African Time.
Passengers on the flight included the minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Mr Isaak Kamwelwe, senior government officials, ATCL staff and journalists. Commenting on the developments, Mr Kamwelwe expressed optimism that the new route would help in cutting the time spent by passengers who had to connect through Nairobi, Dubai and South Africa. He noted that the Mumbai route is of paramount importance in cementing relationships between Tanzania and India.
Mr Kamwelwe said the inauguration of the new route would spur the growth of tourism and trade between the two countries.
“India has high potential as a tourists source market, and we must take advantage of this by ensuring that we maximally utilize the available opportunities,” the minister said.
“I am positive ATCL will do whatever it takes to extend its services to other countries – and, hopefully, it will start flying to Nairobi in Kenya by December this year,” noted the minister.
Speaking before the plane’s departure, the ATCL managing director, Ladislaus Matindi, said a return ticket is available at what he termed the ‘entry’ price of $378 (about Sh869, 400).
He said the airline,which was given a special treatment to use terminal three, whose official inauguration is set for next month, have three flights a week; Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
ATCL has six operational aircraft, of which three are Bombardier Q400, two Airbus A220-300 and one Boeing 787-8 (Dreamliner).
Minister Kamwelwe said the other two aircraft, Dreamliner Boing 787-8 and BombadierQ400 are expected to land in the country by December this year.
In Tanzania, ATCL operates in Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Bukoba, Dodoma, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Songea, Tabora, Iringa and Zanzibar.