International flights in Tanzania will now be able to fly directly to Europe from Mwanza International Airport, the government of Tanzania has announced.
In Tanzania, the are three airports with regular passenger flights; Julius Nyerere International Airport (Dar-es-Salaam), Kilimanjaro International Airport and Abeid Amani Karume Internatioanal Airport in Zanzibar. Mwanza International could now be the fourth one.
According to the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication in Tanzania Mr Isaac Kamwelwe, the move is aimed at improving air transport in the country, whose carrier, Airline Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL), has been experiencing headwinds.
The country’s airline has been ailing without enough planes that can fly to long routes such as Asia and Europe.
Last year, ATCL received its first first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, and announced plans to buy two Bombardier CS 300 jetliners with the capacity to carry 130 passengers each.
Last year, the country added four planes to their fleet in recovery plans, with the target having been six. The government has already made advance payment for another Dreamliner expected to be delivered in January 2020
“We are at an advanced stages to start direct flights to Europe and other countries from Mwanza, thus ATCL’s decision to have more international flights is in line with government’s plan to improve air transport in the country,” said Kamwelwe.
According to the Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai, even leaders in Tanzania had abandoned the national carrier due to unreliability.
“Many people including MPs had lost hope travelling in ATCL planes and never thought that the national carrier would be in the air again,” said Ndugai.
ATCL CEO Ladislaus Matindi said that the airliner will start with domestic flights before graduating to international. So far, two flights on Dodoma-Dar-es-Salaam route have been launched for Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“After serious analysis we realised that those are busy days. Therefore in addition to daily flights we decided to increase the number in those days,” said Matindi.