Suspense over Air Tanzania’s resumption of flights to South Africa continues

Thursday September 19 2019

 

By Rosemary Mirondo @mwaikama rmirondo@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Two weeks after Air Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL) announced that it had suspended flights to South Africa, the national carrier has continued to keep travelers in suspense on the resumption date.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam today, September 19, ATCL’s managing director Ladislaus Matindi said they would only resume flights to Johannesburg after government is fully satisfied that xenophobic violence has ended totally.

Mr  Matindi was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting where the Tanzania Government Flight Agency signed a purchase contract agreement with Airbus to purchase two new Airbus planes A220-300.

He said, at the moment they needed to plan on the way forward by consulting with their agents in South Africa to understand the level of the problem.

This comes in the wake of the national carrier decision to suspend its flights from the commercial capital Dar-es-Salaam to Johannesburg a day after securing back its aircraft on September 5.

The decision was announced by Minister for works, Transport and Communication, Isack Kamwelwe who said the violence there was a risk to passengers.

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Mr Kamwelwe had then said that they could not fly passengers into an area ridden with chaos and violence.

According to him, they were avoiding to transport passengers to the destination where their lives will be in jeopardy.

However ATCL manager said they are not in a position to make any decision  yet until they were given assurance that the violence had ended totally.

According to him, they were currently consulting with their agents in South Africa to know the stators and only then would they announce whether they would resume flights.

The decision to suspend flight due to violence came a day after a South African court dismissed a court order by the Gauteng Lower Division Court to seize an ATCL aircraft at the OR Tambo Airport.

Air Tanzania was the only carrier to have suspended flights to South Africa due to xenophobic violence that targeted foreigners and their businesses in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

In efforts to mend relations fellow African countries, South Africa’s former Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, Ambassador Kingsley Mmabolo and Dr Khulu Mbatha, a veteran of the ruling party, the African National Congress, are currently on a continental tour which will see them visit the Presidents of Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
The group of Presidential Special Envoys will deliver a message of solidarity from South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa to the heads of state as a means to assure them that the government is committed to addressing xenophobic attacks which sparked in the Gauteng province earlier this month.