Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – Tanzanian and foreign aviation experts on Wednesday began a two-day meeting here aimed at recommending measures that will enable this East African country to revamp its aviation industry.
Organised by the Ministry of Transport, the meeting is expected to help speed up the development of Tanzania’s new Civil Aviation Master Plan under which current deficiencies, requirements and cost estimates of the civil aviation infrastructure will be outlined.
“Despite the existence of impressive key drivers to the air transport sector -- including natural resources, mineral wealth, potential growth of agricultural products and animal husbandry -- Tanzania’s air transport industry has not yet taken off in earnest. It needs to be prompted into action,” Transport Minister Omari Nundu told the opening session of the meeting.
According to the minister, Tanzania needs strong airlines to serve the domestic market adequately as well as a national airline that will participate in the international markets.
“We do not have a national airline worth its name yet, an airline that would venture near and far across the seas, flying our wings and announcing our presence on this globe,” said Nundu, who noted that most of Tanzania’s airports need improvement to become accessible at night and increase aircraft utilisation.
Air Tanzania, the national flag carrier, was set up in 1977 soon after the collapse of the East African Airways, but “the airline’s performance has gone through a lot of ups and downs and it is almost a miracle that it is still flying today,” remarked Margaret Munyagi, chairperson of the government’s Aviation Advisory Committee and recently retired CEO of Tanzania Aviation Authority.
Though critics of running a national airline maintain that it is not one of the strategic institutions for Tanzania, its proponents argue that a strong national airline is important to economic growth. If properly financed and managed, they believe, a strong national airline can add a lot of values to the economy through its direct and multiplier contributions.
Participants at the meeting include representatives of the international Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the World Bank, International Air Transport Association (IATA), UK’s Department for International Development as well as local and foreign air operators.
-0- PANA AR/VAO 21March2012