Air Tanzania

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Air Tanzania
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 11 March 1977 (as ATC)
December 2002 (Restructured)
Commenced operations 1 June 1977 (as ATC)
31 March 2003 (as ATCL)
AOC # 001
Hubs Julius Nyerere International Airport
Fleet size 3
Destinations 4
Company slogan The wings of Kilimanjaro
Parent company Tanzanian Government (100%)
Headquarters ATC House, Dar es Salaam
Key people Lusajo Lazaro (Ag. CEO)
Total equity TSh 13.4 billion [US$ 8.06 m]

Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) (Swahili: Kampuni ya Ndege Tanzania) is the flag carrier airline of Tanzania based in Dar es Salaam with its hub at Julius Nyerere International Airport. It was established as Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) in 1977 after the dissolution of East African Airways and has been a member of the African Airlines Association since its inception.[1] The airline was wholly owned by the Tanzanian Government until 2002 when it was partially privatised as per the directive of the Bretton Woods Institutions in order to implement the country's Structural Adjustment Program. The government therefore reduced its shareholding to 51 percent and entered into a partnership with South African Airways.

The partnership lasted for about four years and had accumulated losses of more than Tsh 24 billion (US$19 million). The government repurchased the shares in 2006 and it is once again a wholly owned government company. Over the years, it has served a variety of domestic, regional, and intercontinental destinations. Despite being the national airline, its market share has deteriorated over the years from 19.2 percent in 2009 to 0.4 percent in 2011.[2]


An ATC Fokker F27 at Moi Airport in April 1986

ATC (1977 – 2002)[edit]

Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) was established on 11 March 1977 after the breakup of East African Airways, which had previously served the region. It was wholly owned by the government.

In 1994, Air Tanzania joined with Uganda Airlines and South African Airways (SAA) to form Alliance Air. Air Tanzania had a 10 percent stake in the venture.[3] Flights operated from Dar es Salaam to London–Heathrow via Entebbe on a Boeing 747SP initially, and then a smaller Boeing 767-200. This venture ceased operations in October 2000, after accumulating losses of about US$50 million.[4]

In February 2002, the government began the process of privatizing ATC through the Presidential Parastatal Sector Reform Commission.[5] By 19 September 2002, the bid deadline date, only SAA had submitted a bid. Kenya Airways and Nationwide Airlines had informed the government that they did not intend to submit bids.[6][7]

ATCL (2002 – 2006)[edit]

ATCL logo under SAA management
An ATCL B737 at OR Tambo International Airport in July 2006

The Tanzanian government selected South African Airways (SAA) as the winning bidder. After signing an agreement with the government, SAA in December 2002 purchased a 49 percent stake in Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) for USD 20 million. USD 10 million was the value of the government's shares and the remaining USD 10 million was for the Capital and Training Account for financing Air Tanzania's proposed business plan.[7]

As the strategic partner, SAA planned to create its East African hub in Dar es Salaam to form a "Golden Triangle" between southern, eastern, and western Africa. It also intended to replace ATCL's fleet with Boeing 737-800s, 737-200s, and 767-300s. It also planned to introduce regional routes, including routes to the Middle East and west Africa. The government was expected to sell 10 percent of its 51 percent stake to a private Tanzanian investor, thereby reducing the government's ownership to a non-controlling interest in ATCL.[8]

The new Air Tanzania airline was launched on 31 March 2003, offering direct flights between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam, but also to Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro.

Air Tanzania recorded a pre-tax loss of almost USD 7.3 million in its first year following privatisation. The loss was attributed mainly to the inability to expand the network as quickly and extensively as originally planned. It had been hoped to launch services to Dubai, India, and Europe, but these were delayed as Air Tanzania had only Boeing 737-200s in its fleet. The development of Dar es Salaam as an East African hub for the SAA alliance had also not proceeded as quickly as planned.[9]

Air Tanzania suspended on 31 January 2005 one of its few regional services, Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, following intense competition from Kenya Airways on the route. The airline, however, reaffirmed its intention to launch long-haul services within a year from Dar es Salaam to Dubai, London, Mumbai, and Muscat.[10]

The Tanzanian government announced on 31 March 2006 that it would dispose of ATCL following four years of losses, which amounted to TZS 24.7 billion. The director- general of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, Margaret Munyagi, said "Air Tanzania was in a worse state than before it was taken over by SAA." SAA, however, claimed the Tanzanian government was "not serious" for failing to release about USD 30 million, which was needed to implement Air Tanzania's business strategy to reverse continued losses.[11]

On 7 September 2006, the Tanzanian government bought SAA's 49 percent stake in ATCL for USD 1 million, hence officially terminating its partnership with SAA. The venture collapsed due to the partners' different interests in the business.[12]

Relaunched ATCL (2007 – present)[edit]

After the partnership between Air Tanzania and South African Airways (SAA) was officially terminated, the government set aside TZS 13 billion for Air Tanzania to start using its own ticket stock (number 197) instead of the stock of SAA (number 083), changing revenue systems and fuel services, preparing e-ticketing and accounts systems, using a new trademark, and clearing outstanding debts.[13] President Jakaya Kikwete appointed Mustafa Tanganyika, a veteran politician and diplomat Ambassador, as the board chairman, and former Parastatal Pensions Fund director general David Mattaka as managing director and chief executive officer.[14]

The government also in 2007 began lengthy discussions with China Sonangol International Limited to privatize ATCL. Those discussions were ultimately unsuccessful and ended in 2010.[15]

From 1 July 2007, ATCL started using its own ticket stock. In mid-July, the airline started using electronic ticketing as required by the International Air Transport Association.[16]

The Parliamentary Committee on Economic Infrastructure expressed its concern about no funds being set aside for ATCL. According to the opposition, the airline has debts amounting to USD 4 million due to SAA.[17] A member of the National Assembly of Tanzania also asked the government to claim compensation from SAA for taking aircraft spare parts from the Air Tanzania hangar at the Kilimanjaro International Airport to South Africa.[citation needed]

In August 2007, Air Tanzania selected the Revenue Accounting Bureau Service offered by Mercator, the airline IT solutions provider of the Emirates Group. The airline was promised significant benefits. Revenue would be enhanced through accurate billing and verification, accounting costs would be lowered, productivity would be raised, and training costs would be eliminated.[18]

The leased Airbus A320.

Air Tanzania was relaunched in September 2007 after the dissolution of the partnership with SAA with two leased Boeing 737-200s in its fleet. The new brand represented the company's name, Mount Kilimanjaro and the airline's international destinations. The introduction of the airline's new logo on a leased Airbus A320 bore the image of the imposing giraffe – Tanzania's national icon, to replace the South African Airways flag symbol.[19][20] On 1 October 2007, the revamped Air Tanzania made its inaugural flight on the Dar es Salaam to Mwanza via Kilimanjaro route.[21]

In February 2008, the carrier acquired two de Havilland Canada Dash DHC 8-Q311s. In December 2008, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) withdrew Air Tanzania's Air Operator Certificate because the airline had failed to meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Two weeks later, the International Air Transport Association banned the air carrier from all aviation transactions and informed all travel agencies and other aviation companies to stop all transactions with Air Tanzania until further notice.[22] The certificate was restored in January 2009, with both the TCAA and Air Tanzania claiming there had never been any doubt about the airworthiness of its aircraft.[23]

In 2009, Air Tanzania flew 60,018 passengers, while Precision Air moved 583,000 passengers and Coastal Aviation 141,995 passengers.[24]

Press reports in July 2010 indicated that Air Tanzania was in serious discussions with Air Zimbabwe to establish extensive and substantive management collaborative arrangements. Both airlines were reported to be in search of strategic partners to shore up their operations, which had been in decline over the past decade.[25]

Air Tanzania was effectively grounded in March 2011, after its sole remaining operational aircraft, a Bombardier Q300 was sent to South Africa for heavy maintenance, leaving the carrier literally stranded due to the company having failed to plan forward to have a suitable aircraft leased for the duration. At the same time the other Bombardier Q300 was undergoing a heavy C-check at ATCL´s hangar at the Dar es Salam Terminal. The aircraft was stranded there due to lack of funds to import spare parts from abroad.[26] Air Tanzania resumed flying in November 2011 following the return of the aircraft. The maintenance cost USD 1 million, but other accumulated expenses brought the total bill to USD 3 million, which the Tanzanian government paid in September 2011.[27]

News media reported in November 2011 that Air Tanzania had leased a Fokker F28 aircraft from JetLink Express on a standby basis in case its only operational airplane is incapacitated. More aircraft would be procured over the next several months and years, according to the airline's business plan shared with the media.[27]

On 21 November 2011, Air Tanzania began negotiations with Export Development Canada (EDC) to explore how EDC could assist the airline to acquire more aircraft from Bombardier, a Canadian airplane manufacturer.[28] Those negotiations, however, "fizzled out".[29]

The leased B737-500

Aerovista leased a Boeing 737-500 to Air Tanzania on 29 March 2012 to enhance the airline's service delivery in the short-term. In early August 2012, Air Tanzania suspended the contract with Aerovista and returned the aircraft. The only other aircraft in the fleet, a Bombardier Q300, was stored for maintenance, which caused the airline to suspend operations and rebook passengers to other carriers.[30] Air Tanzania returned to the skies on 12 October 2012 with a 32-year-old Boeing 737-200. The aircraft was leased for three months from Star Air Cargo in South Africa.[31] The 737 arrived in Dar es Salaam on 11 October 2012 in Air Tanzania livery and started operations the following day.

In late 2012, the Controller and Auditor General of Tanzania, Ludovick Utouh, recommended the criminal prosecution of three former managers of ATCL for the 2007 lease of the Airbus A320 from Wallis Trading Company, a Lebanese company. He said there was massive misappropriation and mismanagement of the leasing agreement, resulting in an accumulated debt of US $41.4 million by October 2012, all of which is guaranteed by the government.[32] The aircraft was in ATCL's possession for 48 months, but it spent 41 of those months in France undergoing a major maintenance.[33]

Air Tanzania restarted operations to Kigoma on 10 January 2013, by using its Bombardier Q300. The airline has plans to begin operating flights to Arusha, Songwe, Zanzibar, and Mwanza.[34]

In January 2013, the chairman of Al Hayat Development and Investment Company (AHDIC), Sheikh Salim Al-Harthyan, announced plans for an Omani investment corporation to invest USD 100 million in Air Tanzania. The money would be used to build an airline training centre and offices for Air Tanzania, buy aircraft, and engage in other development activities that would begin before the end of 2013.[35] In August 2013, AHDIC promised to provide four Embraer175 and four Bombardiers to Air Tanzania. The Sheikh also said that the original USD 100 million investment would be increased gradually.[36] But in May 2014, the newsmedia reported no progress had been made and that AHDIC might not be a real company.[37] Sixteen days later, however, AHDIC reaffirmed its interest in the original deal.[38]

In May 2016, The EastAfrican reported that Air Tanzania, which operates a single, leased CRJ 200, which seats 50 passengers, was seeking funds to buy or lease four aircraft in the next 24 months in order to expand operations.[39]

Corporate affairs[edit]


Air Tanzania is wholly owned by the Government of Tanzania. As of 30 June 2011, its share capital was about TZS 13.4 billion.[40]

Business trends[edit]

Financial and other figures for Air Tanzania are not formally published on a regular basis, and (as at February 2012) their accounts for 2008, 2009 and 2010 are still "in discussion with the auditors".[40] Based on various press reports, government documents and statements by officials, recent trends are:

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Turnover (TZS b) 39.6
Turnover (US$ m) 37.7
Pre tax Profits/Losses (TZS b) −8.7 −9.3
Net Profits/Losses (US$ m) −7.3 −7.7
Number of employees 300+ 182
Number of passengers (000s) 267 246 295 207 60
Passenger load factor (%)
Number of aircraft 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
Notes/sources [41][42] [42] [42][43] [42][43] [43] [43][44] [43][45] [46] [47]


As of February 2015, Air Tanzania serves one international and three domestic destinations.[48]

[Hub] Hub
[T] Suspended route
City Country IATA ICAO Airport Refs
Arusha  Tanzania ARK HTAR Arusha Airport
Moroni  Comoros HAH FMCH Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport
Dar es Salaam  Tanzania DAR HTDA Julius Nyerere International Airport [Hub]
Kigoma  Tanzania TKQ HTKA Kigoma Airport
Mbeya  Tanzania - HTGW Songwe Airport
Mtwara  Tanzania MYW HTMT Mtwara Airport
Mwanza  Tanzania MWZ HTMW Mwanza Airport
Tabora  Tanzania TBO HTTB Tabora Airport

Codeshare agreements[edit]

As of June 2014, the airline has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

In the recent past, it had an agreement with Air Uganda on the Entebbe–Dar es Salaam route.[50]

Interline agreements[edit]

ATCL has an interline agreement with RwandAir.[51] ATCL has no E-ticket interline agreements. But it has paper ticketing and baggage interline agreements with Air Malta, Gulf Air, South African Airways and Vietnam Airlines.[52][not in citation given]

Future plans[edit]

An Omani investment consortium plans to bring in eight aircraft, which includes Bombardier for domestic routes; Embraer 175 for regional routes such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Uganda; and an Airbus A330 for intercontinental destinations such as China and London–Heathrow.[53][54]


Air Tanzania's Dash 8-300, pictured at Songwe Airport in 2014

As of September 2016, the airline's fleet consists of the following aircraft:[55] [56]

Air Tanzania Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
Bombardier CRJ100 1 50
Bombardier Dash 8-300 1 50
Bombardier Q400 1 1 74
Total 2 -

Aspirations to expand/renew the fleet have been expressed by the airline's management at different times, but no firm orders seem to have followed.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 1 March 2010: An Air Tanzania Boeing 737-200 (5H-MVZ) skidded off a wet runway while attempting to land at Mwanza Airport. Its nose wheel collapsed and its hull and righthand engine were damaged, but no injuries were reported.[57] The aircraft proved too expensive to repair and is stored in Mwanza pending resolution of a claim with the airline's insurer.[58]
  • 8 April 2012: An Air Tanzania de Havilland Canada DHC-8-311Q (5H-MWG) crashed while trying to take-off at Kigoma airport. No one was injured, but the aircraft was irreparably damaged.[59][60]


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  2. ^ "Air Operators - Market Share 2009-2011" (PDF). Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority. 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Airline Privatization", Regional Workshop on Air Transport Regulatory Policy, Bangkok, 2000, page 3
  4. ^ "$50 million losses forces Alliance Air to close", Flight International, reported by Michael Wakabi, 17 October 2000, reprinted on the website of Flightglobal
  5. ^ "Presidential Parastatal Sector Reform Commission: Preliminary Notice to Investors Privatisation of Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC)", Flight International, 19-25 February 2002, page 89
  6. ^ "IFC Home". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
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  14. ^ "Air Tanzania should do serious business", IPP Media
  15. ^ "What govt didn`t tell on Sonangol, ATCL deal",, 1 July 2012
  16. ^ "ATC Begins To Use Own Ticket Stocks", IPP Media
  17. ^ "MPs Want Government To Adequately Fund ATCL Operations", IPP Media
  18. ^ "Air Tanzania Selects Mercator's Outsourced Revenue Accounting Solution", Emirates, 6 August 2007
  19. ^ "Air Tanzania finally reborn with former...", IPP Media
  20. ^ "Air Tanzania Rebrands Its Logo And Aircraft Colors"
  21. ^ "Revamped ATC Makes Inaugural Flight To Mwanza", IPP Media
  22. ^ Thome, Wolfgang H. (14 December 2008). "Air Tanzania CEO: We will be back". eTurboNews. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "Air Tanzania gets thrown a lifeline", eTurboNews, reported by Wolfgang Thome, 5 January 2009
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  25. ^ "Air Tanzania ditches Chinese firm and partners with Air Zimbabwe", The East African, reported by Mike Mande, 5 July 2010
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  27. ^ a b "ATCL revival herculean task", IPP Media, reported by Florian Kaijage, 30 October 2011
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  29. ^ "Will Air Tanzania's revival plan take off?", The East African, 8 October 2012
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  33. ^ "Fresh battle over Sh 52 billion deal",, 1 January 2012
  34. ^ "ATCL announces plans to resume Dar-Tabora flights", The Citizen, 30 May 2013
  35. ^ "Tanzania: Omani Consortium to Invest Sh160 Billion in ATCL", Daily News, reprinted on the website of, 11 January 2013
  36. ^ "Oman Consortium Pledges 8-Planes as an Investment to Air Tanzania", Aviation Tanzania, reported by D. M. Stan, August 2013
  37. ^ "Omani firm 8-plane shunt deal a puzzler", The Daily News, 6 May 2014
  38. ^ "ATCL, investor to strike deal before end of year", The Citizen, reported by Ludger Kasumuni, 22 May 2014
  39. ^ Tairo, Apolinari (3 May 2016). "Dar seeks funds in bid to revamp flag carrier Air Tanzania". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  40. ^ a b "Guidelines for the preparation of Annual Plan and Budget for 2012/13" (PDF). The United Republic of Tanzania. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  41. ^ "Privatised, Air Tanzania Goes at $7.3m Loss". The East African. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  42. ^ a b c d "Air Tanzania subsidies reach $2.8 million". The East African. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  43. ^ a b c d e "The Tanzania Five Year Development Plan 2011/2012-2015/16" (PDF). The United Republic of Tanzania. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  44. ^ "Tanzania's troubled airline to resume flights". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  45. ^ "Air Tanzania Fires 45% of Staff Amid Talks With China Sonangol". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  46. ^ "Tanzania: Air Tanzania to Resume Flights". East African Business Week. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  47. ^ "Air Tanzania plans Bombardier purchases". eTurboNews . Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  48. ^ "ATCL Destinations". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  49. ^ "Air Tanzania-Interair in code sharing pact". Daily News (Tanzania). 27 June 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  50. ^ Serugo, Moses (20 May 2008). "Air Uganda to Share Route With Air Tanzania". Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  51. ^ "Partners". RwandAir. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  52. ^ "Travel Information, Expert Flyer, accessed 24 September 2014, subscription service". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  53. ^ Majaliwa, Christopher (23 December 2013). "Eight plane deal for ATCL nears fruition". Daily News (Tanzania). Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  54. ^ ATCL expansion plans on YouTube
  55. ^ "ATCL aircraft returns on Dar-Kigoma route". The Citizen. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  56. ^
  57. ^ "Air crash in Mwanza", Tanzanian Affairs, 1 May 2010
  58. ^ "Air Tanzania Corporation Ltd", Tanzanian Affairs, 1 September 2010
  59. ^ "How 39 cheated death in ATCL plane mishap", The Citizen, 9 April 2012
  60. ^ Harro Ranter (9 April 2012). "ASN Aircraft accident de Havilland Canada DHC-8-311Q 5H-MWG Kigoma Airport (TKQ)". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 

External links[edit]