ZAA tells airlines to either join Dnata or leave Terminal 3

Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • The Zanzibar Airport Authority has threatened to evict airlines from Terminal 3 at Abeid Aman Karume International Airport if they do not use the services of Dnata, the airport's new ground handler.

Dar es Salaam. Airlines that have not joined the Zanzibar Airports Authority’s (ZAA) preferred ground handler, Dnata, at the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA) face eviction from the Terminal Three building, The Citizen has learnt.

In an email that was sent to international airlines that were yet to comply with the September 14 directive, and are served at the Terminal 3, the authority gave them up to January 15, or shift to the Terminal 2 building.

“I would like to inform you that you are required to make contact with Dnata handling company for continued operations of your flights in Terminal 3,” reads part of the email.

It further stated: “Dnata is the sole ground handler authorised to provide services for flights that operate at Terminal 3.”

The email signed by Aman Hamdun Zubeir, the airport manager further advised the airlines to contact Dnata’s representatives to avoid the inconveniences that may arise.

Airlines have confirmed receiving the email and some have already complied and signed contracts with ZAA’s preferred ground handler at Terminal 3.

However, though there are certain airlines that are ready to move to the Terminal 2 building, a source that spoke to The Citizen on condition of anonymity, says the conditions at the terminal are not attractive at all.

“The conditions at Terminal 2 need to be improved to match international standards for airlines to go there or else they will end up with the preferred ground handler, even if it is against their wishes,” he said.

On September 14, the Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) issued a directive which gave the Dubai based company exclusive access to the new terminal which was constructed at a cost of $120 million.

The order by ZAA, gave ground handling firms at the airport until December 1, 2022 to move to the newly constructed Terminal 3, instructing airlines to make arrangements to work with Dnata.

Several other steps followed the order which included the auditing of the ground handlers in October and a meeting with airlines to fast-track their transitions towards a new ground handler.

Whereas the other two ground handlers were denied access to Terminal 3, Dnata on the other hand can still operate in Terminal 2 as well.

Documents that The Citizen has seen show that ZAT has been operating at the airport for the past 27 years with a concession agreement that runs until 2030 with a client base that features world class airlines, employing over 300 people.

Prior to the order, some of the Airlines that ZAT handled included Etihad, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines Lot polish, Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Tui and Ethiopian Airlines.

On the other hand, Transworld, which has been operating at the airport for the past 6 years, had Kenya Airways, Air France, KLM, Edelweiss, and Eurowings as part of its clientele profile.

It is unclear whether the regulator TCCA gave the nod for the changes that are taking place in Zanzibar which many stakeholders maintain break the laws enacted by the authority.

However, even as the ZAA went ahead to implement the order, Tanzania airline operators association (Taoa) say it is contrary to the decision of the board of directors of Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) No. 01 of 2022 which prohibits, among other things, monopolisation and segregation of terminals.