The East African cargo carrier’s network offers services to Dubai and Mumbai. In addition, intra-African flights to Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, and some other cities are included in its itinerary. The airline aims to cater to the increasing demand for air freight services on the African continent, and is pioneering core international markets.
The first flight destined to the Middle East and India, will take off from Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport on 28JUL23, the management has announced. An ambitious undertaking since Air Tanzania’s decision to dive into the shark tank of air freight transportation is extremely risky and therefore courageous. This is because Nairobi, the leading cargo hub in East Africa, is just around 670 km away, i.e. within reachable trucking distance.
First B767-300 freighter ever delivered to an African airline
Although market experts repeatedly voiced their skepticism, pointing at commercial uncertainties of the intended cargo operations, the Tanzanian government ignored warnings and instead pursued its own cargo strategy. Main drivers, claim local observers, were reasons of national pride and a long existing competition with Kenya.
To this end, the state-owned Air Tanzania was authorized to purchase a newbuilt B767-300F (reg: 5H-TCO), which has meanwhile been delivered. For the U.S. frame maker, it was the first delivery of a B767 freighter to an African airline.
The name of the fraudsters were kept secret
Yet, the deal was overshadowed by a scandal, as a financial revision unveiled. According to the outcome, USD 86 million were submitted as final payment, but the correct installment was USD 37 million - a difference of USD 49 million. Following the investigation of the fraud in MAR23, which revealed that leading airline managers had transferred large sums of money to their private accounts, President Samia Suluhu ordered their dismissal, without naming the perpetrators, however. It is also unclear as to whether they have repaid the stolen money to the state.
Meanwhile, tasks such as formal regulatory procedures, pilot training, and aircraft registration in preparation for the upcoming launch have been accomplished.
A second freighter is not yet in sight
Air Tanzania CEO, Ladislaus Matindi, said that in addition to the network mentioned above, routes to China and Nigeria (Lagos) are also under consideration for Air Tanzania Cargo’s potential flight plan. “Provided there is sufficient customer demand,” the executive added.
According to its website, the African carrier operates a fleet of eleven passenger aircraft (not counting the B767freighter). These are: five Dash8-400, four A220-300, and two B787-8 (Dreamliner).
CEO Matindi announced that the carrier plans to add three additional aircraft to its fleet in the near future. This expansion will include medium-range aircraft such as the Boeing 737 Max 9, and long-distance aircraft - most likely the Boeing Dreamliner. If a second freighter aircraft is planned, the manager did not reveal.
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