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National carrier to expand operations
National carrier, Air Tanzania, is set to expand its operations after it takes delivery of two new aircraft from Canada this month.
In July, Canada’s Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced that the Tanzanian government had signed a firm purchase agreement for two Q400 turboprop airliners.
The aircraft, which cost $62 million, are expected to be delivered in the second half of this month. Each aircraft has a capacity of 76 seats, boosting the flag carrier’s expansion programme.
Currently, the airline operates domestic flights to Kigoma and Mwanza and regional flights to the Comoros as it has only one aircraft.
Following the acquisition of the new aircraft, the carrier has announced a recruitment plan for pilots, engineers and cabin crew. It plans to expand domestic routes and flights from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, Mwanza, Arusha, Mbeya, Kigoma, Tabora, Mpanda, Kilimanjaro, Mtwara, Zanzibar, Pemba, Bukoba and Comoros.
“Our Q400 aircraft will provide affordable, convenient and comfortable air transport solutions,” said Tanzania’s Transport Permanent Secretary, Leonard Chamuriho. He pointed out that plans were afoot for the carrier to expand its operations across Tanzania, with international flights to destinations on the African continent also expected.
Air Tanzania Executive Director, Patrick Itule, said: “Our biggest challenge was shortage of aircraft. But once we receive the two planes, it will be possible for us to reach out to new destinations.”
Air Tanzania Business Officer, Josephat Kagirwa, said the new aircraft’s economy class will accommodate 70 passengers and the business class will have a capacity of six passengers. “We aim to operate international flights within the shortest possible time to fulfil our responsibility as a national carrier.”