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Monday, December 08, 2008

TweetThis! Tanzania's ATCL could be suspended from IATA

I have shockingly learned today that the Air Tanzania Co Ltd (ATCL) may be suspended from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) this month after being found with 500 safety glitches in October 2007. Yes! you read it right, five hundred safety glitches! and it's been a year, those have not been fixed yet! The IATA had issued a one-year ultimatum to ATCL to do the needul, the deadline has expired in November 2008. whew! Now that's huge for an airline and you know what happens when you are no longer an IATA member, right? It's simply B to the A to the D (bad).
Among the 500 safety concerns noticed, one was cited as poor documentation of ongoing safety issues, thus raising concerns over the management and seriousness  of  improving the safety of flights and protecting passengers` wellbeing.

ATCL Chief Executive Officer David Mattaka admitted that ATCL had been found with 500 safety glitches and said his airline was "working very hard" to ensure that they are not suspended from IATA membership at the end of the month.
An ATCL pilot (declined to be named) said that after December 31,  ATCL will be suspended from the IATA immediately.

The IATA was created 60 years ago by a group of airlines to represent, lead and serve the airline industry at large.  Today it represents about 230 airlines comprising 93 % of scheduled international air traffic.

ATCL being dropped from IATA would hamper already troubled airline`s bid to revive its shrinking market share regionally and internationally.

As if that was not enough trouble, ATCL`s profits and reputation have been compromised by a lack of proper strategic planning and recurrent financial constraints such that it has lost about 60% of its market share in both domestic and regional routes.  Until June 2008, the ATCL had 5 planes in its fleet of Boeing 737-200s, Air Buses and DC 9s, but by the end of  November there were only 2 operating planes.

Air Tanzania - A brief history
Air Tanzania Corporation was established on 10 March 1977 after the breakup of East African Airways, which had previously served the region. Flights were started from Dar-es-Salaam using Boeing 737-200s and Fokker F-27s. A Twin Otter was used for regional services and flights from Kilimanjaro were started. In the mid 1990s the airline used a Boeing 767 but this aircraft was too large and the airline disposed of it. Regional services were reduced in this period and the Twin Otter was also disposed of.
The company was originally wholly owned by the Tanzanian government via the Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC). In 2001, the government began the process of privatizing the corporation. Initially, eight airlines expressed an interest in the privatization of ATC. By August 2002, South African Airways (SAA) and Kenya Airways were the only two remaining actively interested parties. By the bid submission deadline of September 19, 2002, only SAA had submitted a bid. In December 2002, SAA purchased a 49% stake in ATC for $20 million USD after they signed an agreement with the government. As a result of this transaction, the core operating assets of ATC were transferred to a new company called Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL). The government is expected to sell 10% of its current 51% stake to a private Tanzanian investor, thereby reducing the government's ownership to a non-controlling interest in ATCL.

The new airline Air Tanzania Limited (ATL) was launched on 31 March 2003, offering direct flights from 1 April between Johannesburg and Dar Es Salaam, but also to Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro.

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