Expert Briefing: Tanzania aviation revival – An old wine in a new bottle?


A mock up of the expected 787-8 Dreamliner, confirmed purchase by Boeing

Almost two years in HE. President John Magufuli’s presidency, one of the score-point is the resurrection of the national carrier, ATCL. With two new Canadian-made Bombardier Q400 Next Geneation jets, ATCL has criss-crossed Tanzanian skies with over 8 destinations domestically and the Commors. Air Tanzania the flag carrier of Tanzania has since confirmed the purchase a 787-8 Dreamliner (valued at $224.6 million) expected to open skies even further to international destination.

In a statement released by the carrier upon confirmation of purchase, ATCL said:  “The 787 Dreamliner will be the flagship aircraft as we renew and grow the Air Tanzania fleet. We aim to establish our long-haul capability by starting flights to Europe, Asia and the USA over the coming years and the 787 is the perfect aircraft to achieve this ambition. Our hub airport at Dar es Salaam is well located to provide connections onwards across east Africa, capitalizing on the growing demand for tourism in Tanzania and throughout the region from intercontinental markets.”

Today, Precision Air will test a maiden flight to Kahama, one of the bustling mining town in the lake zone, making its 4th destination in the lake zone alone after Mwanza, Musoma and Bukoba. Fastjet – a low cost carrier – which was slowing down a few months earlier seem to have reworked their business model and are managing to survive. No international carrier has suspended flight to Dar es salaam or Kilimanjaro in the last 6 months. Signs are positive on the aviation industry.

TPSF, the Apex body for effective policy advocacy has since weighed in,  calling for the removal of 1% levy imposed on all imports to support railway development in the country. Over the course of Budget discussions, the government agreed to scrap in on Jet A1 fuel from July 1st, 2017, which TPSF hopes will lower aircraft fuel prices and increase competitiveness for Local Airline Carriers.

As the economy grows healthy, household income rises and tourism sector set to hit 2 million tourists this year, the aviation sector is set for a positive growth trajectory. The only question remains, how shall we harness the trend and sustain growth on our domestic aviation companies and have more positive results compared to the 2001 – 2008 aviation boom period. We only hope it’s not only a new bottle, but a new it as well.


Written By:

Gilead Teri

Director of Policy – Tanzania Private Sector Foundation


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *