France to open its airspace to Tanzanian airlines
- Areas of interest that had been agreed by experts during the meeting include opening Paris and Marseille for designated airlines of Tanzania as long-haul routes and long-haul cargo between the two countries.
Dar es Salaam. Tanzanian airlines will soon be able to fly to and from Paris, Marseille, Mayotte and Reunion, thanks to the review of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (Basa) between Tanzania and France.
In a fresh bid to facilitate the recovery of the aviation sector that has been hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic, experts from the two countries last week met in Mayotte – a French administrative territory – to review the pact that was signed in1978.
The Citizen understands that the review of Basa in the belief that it was definitely overtaken by events, saw four areas of interest being agreed upon in the new accord that will be signed shortly once institutional formalities of the two countries have been completed.
Areas of interest that had been agreed by experts during the meeting include opening Paris and Marseille for designated airlines of Tanzania as long-haul routes and long-haul cargo between the two countries.
They also agreed to add Mayotte and Reunion destinations which are not in the list of entry points for the Tanzanian designated airlines in the current Basa.
The new Basa also provides a room for code-sharing arrangements between airlines from Tanzania and France and those from third countries.
The Tanzanian delegation to the Basa negotiations was led by the assistant director air transport and meteorological services for the Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr Paul Chiganga.
The delegation consisted of experts from Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA), Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) and representatives from Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) and Precision Air.
Mr Chiganga said addition of Mayotte and Reunion destinations in the current Basa will allow the Tanzanian airlines to operate between points in Tanzania and those two important destinations which are all in the administrative territory of France.
On the question of opening Paris and Marseille for designated airlines of Tanzania as long-haul routes and long-haul cargo, he said it was important for Tanzanian airlines to expand their networks.
“Having in mind the plans by ATCL to acquire an all-cargo freighter in the near future, we agreed, during the negotiations, to open up Paris and Marseille for long-haul cargo between the two countries,” said Mr Chiganga in the document seen by The Citizen.
Adding: “We further agreed to open Mayotte (short-haul) for cargo from Tanzania and vice versa, for ATCL and Precision Air in future.”
He exuded his optimism that allowing code sharing arrangements between airlines from the two countries and airlines from third countries will create ample room for flight network expansion of designated airlines of Tanzania and France.
ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi told The Citizen that the review of the Basa will enable the national carrier to expand its footprints, with Mayotte topping the list of priorities, to start with.
“Preparations to start flying to Mayotte are done. We need some arrangements and soon we will start flying,” the ATCL boss recounted.
Precision Air’s marketing and corporate communications manager Hilary Mremi said the review of Basa will open doors for business.
“The review of Basa will open doors for partnership with French airlines,” said Mr Mremi.
Like ATCL, Precision Air, also expressed its interest to start with flying to Mayotte, saying preparations have already started.
The review of Basa suggests that the two countries are dancing to the tune of the celebratory current situation whereby airspaces are being opened globally after their closure of, most of them, for more than two years.
The head of the French delegation and co-chair of the negotiations meeting, Mr Emmanuel Vivet, said it was the first time that France hosted a big negotiation of that magnitude with another country in Mayotte.
“So, we are not taking this occasion lightly and the people of Mayotte feel a great presence of Paris in Mayotte by just deciding that the negotiations on air transport services should be held here” noted Mr Vivet, who doubles as the French Civil Aviation Authority director general.
The 1978 Basa will cease to be in effect once the new agreement is signed and entered into force