Tanzania' s aviation industry performance surpasses pre-Covid levels

What you need to know:

  • Data by Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority show that cargo handled in 2022 surpassed pre-pandemic levels by 32 percent to reach 35,130.83 tonnes

Dar es Salaam. The year 2022 ended on a high note for the aviation sector as passenger traffic and cargo surpassed the pre-Covid levels.

Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) data show that cargo handled last year surpassed the pre-pandemic levels by 32 percent to reach 35,130.83 tonnes while passengers carried by airlines increased by almost two percent to hit 5.723 million.

When it comes to aircraft movement, they still remained below pre-pandemic level by 15.4 percent.

When comparing the 2022 figures with those of the preceding year, the number of passengers who used the country’s airports jumped by 49.23 percent compared to 3.835 million registered in 2021, according to the TCAA.

On the other hand, the tonnage of cargo that was carried in 2022 increased by 13.42 percent from the previous year’s 30,973.75.

Under the period of review, the number of aircraft movements climbed by 28.5 percent to 198,115 from 154,168.

Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) managing director Ladislaus Matindi connected the promising performance with a campaign to market Tanzania through the Royal Tour film.

Mr Matindi also said the good performance was a reflection that the mentality that air transport was meant for the rich was changing.

“This is an indication of the middle income growth,” Mr Matindi told The Citizen last week.

Precision Air managing director Patrick Mwanri attributed the current aviation performance to the opening up of the global market after almost two years of lockdown and travel restrictions.

“All countries have now opened up their borders and eased the travel restrictions, which allowed more passengers to travel freely,” Mr Mwanri told The Citizen through a WhatsApp chart last week.

“Once other constraints brought by the aftermath of the pandemic are addressed, we hope for a better future.”

To maintain the current handsome performance, Mr Mwanri recommended addressing of long queues of maintenance activities from the original equipment manufacturer.

He also called for the speedy manufacturing of critical aircraft parts and waiver of penalties attributed from late payments during the pandemic.

Efforts to get comments from the ministry of Works and Transport proved futile.

Director of Sales at Auric Air Services Limited Deepesh Gupta linked the good performance with easing lockdown and removal of restrictive measures put forward by governments during the pandemic.

He told The Citizen last week that for the sector to keep growing, the government and private sector should set a stage for a resilient economy.

“We need to have an enabling business environment to attract foreign investors,” recommended Mr Gupta.

Swissport Tanzania chief executive officer Mrisho Yassin appreciated the ATCL’s growth, saying it is driving the sector’s figures.

“ATCL has a significant influence. It has been proactive in launching new routes and increasing frequencies hence better utilisation of its equipment (12 aircraft),” asserted Mr Yassin yesterday.

Going by the 2021/22 financial year data from TCAA, ATCL is a market leader with 53.1 percent followed by Precision Air at 22.9 percent.

Auric Air Services with 10.3 percent, Flight Links with 2.6 percent and Coastal Travel Ltd with 2.5 percent came third, fourth and fifth place, respectively. Others shared 8.6 percent.

Mr Yassin said: “The future looks good as new airlines are coming in, thanks to the government’s steps in promoting business relations.”

On Sunday a country witnessed the Saudia Airlines launching direct flights to Tanzania and thus making a total number of foreign airlines in the country to 20.

Icing the cake, Air France is set to launch its direct flights from Paris to Dar es Salaam in June this year.

Nas-Dar Airco head of corporate affairs Evans Mlelwa said the industry’s good performance was triggered by the improvement in the aviation infrastructure as well as safety and security.

“This adds value to the industry’s performance. It opens more business for ground handlers,” he said yesterday.

Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) director general Mussa Mbura commended the efforts taken by the government and the world at large to curb Covid-19 pandemic. He also credited President Samia Suluhu Hassan for opening up Tanzania to the world and hence influx of more investors.

“The authority will continue creating a friendly business environment to attract more business in the aviation sector,” pledged Mr Mbura.