Tanzania: ATCL`s Airbus not flying

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Air Tanzania Company Limited flights are set to resume today but minus its biggest plane - an Airbus-320.

The company`s CEO, David Mattaka, told journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the services would indeed resume as scheduled but with the plane out of action apparently because it is on rou


ATCL flights are due to resume flying today after the government released on Wednesday an additional 2bn/- to complete a promised package aimed at rescuing the airline from crippling financial problems.

The government had earlier extended some 2.5bn/- to the company as the first instalment of the bailout package.

“The Airbus-320 will not be part of the ATCL fleet in business beginning tomorrow because it is undergoing normal maintenance in Mauritius. We`ll start using it soon after it is back,“ he said.

Mattaka explained that only domestic routes would resume using smaller planes he identified as Dash 8s, adding that some previous domestic flights would stand cancelled.

He cited financial constraints as the major reason for getting back into business with a smaller fleet.

“Some of our previous routes have been invaded and we just have to start afresh – and that means starting small,“ he said.

According to the ATCL chief, they spent the 2.5bn/- released by the government earlier this month clearing some of their debts and the resumption of services would depend on the additional 2bn/-.

“We will start operating slowly with domestic routes only, later operating regional and international ones. This is because we still are without enough funding but we will surely gradually become more active if the business pays,“ he said.

Mattaka explained further that the government has promised to continue disbursing funds to them every month for the next four months.

“The aim is to reach the targeted 7.1bn/- proposed by the ATCL management for the airline to get more fully into business,“ he noted.

On December 8 last year, ATCL was banned from operating after the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) revoked its Air Operating Certificate over problems with documentation.

The airline only resumed services on December 30 after fulfilling a set of requirements.

TCAA decided to ground the ATCL fleet after visiting International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) officials threatened to rate the country as not airworthy.

The airline was thereafter allowed to resume operations but the financial crisis made that impossible.

* SOURCE: GUARDIAN

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