Tanzania will spend Sh468 billion to purchase new aircraft for Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) in the coming financial year.
This was said by the Minister of works and transport Professor Makame Mbarawa on Monday, May 23 while tabling the ministry’s budget in parliament.
“The money will be spent on completing payments for five aircraft for ATCL which include a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, two Boeing 737-9 aircraft, one cargo Boeing 767-300F and one Dash 8 Q400,” Prof Mbarawa said.
Prof Mbarawa, said government was determined to turn Tanzania into a transport and logistics hub in East and Central Africa and that it has signed contracts for the purchase of five more aircraft for ATCL.
The contracts will see the country purchasing a Dash 8 Q400, two Boeing B737-9 Max, a Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner and a Boeing 767-300F for cargo.
The purchases of the planes which are expected to arrive early next year will bring ATCL’s fleet to 16 aircraft
On the other hand, the National Institute of Transport (NIT) will also receive its two aircrafts from America’s Textron Aviation Inc which will be used in the training of pilots in Tanzania.
The new budgetary commitment comes at a time when it was early this year revealed that two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft recorded losses worth Sh23.6 billion despite Air Tanzania cutting its losses from Sh60.2 billion to Sh36.5 billion in 2020-2021.
The CAG’s report also revealed that ATCL is among 42 government entities that recorded losses or overspent in two consecutive years thus becoming one of the corporations that cannot pay debts within a short period of time.
However, President Samia Suluhu Hassan her address in April said government would continue to nurture national carrier strategically to enable it to operate effectively.
"The company has been operating at a loss but this is because it inherited huge debts and therefore as a government we need to strategize on the way forward,” she said then.
She said the government will look at a possibility of providing debt relief and some taxes and levies as is done in other countries so that it can thrive.
"The aviation business is difficult, we will try to study the trends of this business in the world and see how to improve the company,” she said.