TCAA issues stern warning to Dnata

Sunday June 26 2022
Dnata pic
By Paul Owere

Dar es Salaam. Three weeks after Dnata Zanzibar, a subsidiary of Dubai National Air Travel Agency obtained a licence to operate in Tanzania, the company has put up plans of how it is going to handle operations at the Abeid Amani Karume Airport’s Terminal 3, The Citizen has learnt.

This, however, according to the regulator, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), is against the set procedures of best practices of doing business. Speaking to The Citizen TCAA Director General Hamza Johari said that it was a breach of the law and that the company should stop any such promotions with immediate effect.

“Dnata Zanzibar should not start any advertisements on ground handling service provision until when they have a concession agreement with Zanzibar Airport Authority,” said Mr Johari.

According to TCAA, this process requires a tender to be floated for all potential investors to bid before the best is picked and then approved by the regulator.

Despite having not signed a concession agreement, the brochures that The Citizen has seen Dnata Zanzibar has listed several services in Terminal 3 which is expected to handle international flights.

“Dnata will oversee the operations of Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport’s (ZNZ) newly-built international terminal in partnership with SEGAP (Egis and AIIM), Emirates Leisure Retail and Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI),” reads part of the brochure.

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It adds: Dnata will provide a range of ground and passenger handling, cargo and airport hospitality services at Zanzibar. In an email sent to The Citizen from Dnata’s media relations on why they were promoting their services before the signing of a concession agreement, the company said they had complied with all the regulatory requirements which include licensing.

“The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) has awarded Dnata Zanzibar the required operating licence for ramp, passenger and cargo warehousing services at ‘Class II’ airports in the Republic of Tanzania, such as Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport’s (ZNZ) newly-built international terminal (Terminal 3), following Dnata Zanzibar’s compliance with applicable legal requirements,” reads the email in part. It further added: Dnata Zanzibar has followed the established process and related regulations issued by TCAA and Zanzibar Airport Authority (ZAA) applicable to the ground handling concession and corresponding license. Dnata Zanzibar has also fulfilled all prerequisite safety requirements to consistently run high quality and safe operations at ZNZ.

However, they stated that Dnata Zanzibar ground handling operations are different from those operations of Emirates Leisure Retail (ELR) and MMI related to food and beverage, duty-free and commercial outlets at Terminal 3 in Zanzibar.

In an earlier interview, TCAA’s director general had also told The Citizen that what Dnata had signed in 2021, was not a ground handling agreement, instead it was a contract to provide services such as running the duty free shops and the lounges. “For one to qualify for this business they have to be registered locally and 35 percent of the shares should be owned by Tanzanians, it is only then that they can now apply for a concession,” he said then.

In November 2021, Dnata signed a contract with authorities in Zanzibar to provide ground handling services at newly built Terminal 3 at the Abeid Amani Kurume International Airport.

As part of the contract, two other Emirates’ subsidiaries, Emirates Leisure Retail and MMI will operate all 13 retailers and two lounges in the terminal. The retailers include restaurant, duty free and commercial outlets.

It was not however stated by the parties whether the contract was through an open tender or otherwise.

Efforts to reach the Zanzibar Airports Authority for comment proved futile after phones, messages went unanswered.