ATCL, Dubai Plane Firm Set to Sign New Lease Contract
Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) is finalising a contract review with a Dubai based aviation company, Aero Vista, so as to enable the national carrier to resume its operations before October 10, The Citizen has leant.ATCL acting Commercial director Mwanamvua Ngocho told this paper in an exclusive interview that the negotiations were at an advanced stage, noting that parties were cooperating for mutual benefits.
“Another meeting with Aero Vista is planned for Friday. This will conclude and give the contract final touches. Our plans are to resume operations before October 10,” said Ms Ngocho.ATCL leased a 108-seater Boeing 737-500 plane in May from the Sharjah-based aircraft company, dispatching it on its Dar es Salaam-Kilimanjaro-Mwanza route before sending it to Hahaya (Comoro) route.
But early in August ATCL suspended its contract over an argument that the contract did not benefit Tanzania.“In the few months that we initiated the flights we were incurring losses. All the money went into paying Aero Vista and meeting operation expenses. The business was not doing us any good,” said Ms Ngocho.Currently, ATCL has only one aircraft, a 50-seater Dash 8Q-300, which Ms Ngocho said was in good condition and that it was scheduled to start operations by October 10 as well.
“Its maintenance is in the final stages,” she said.Meanwhile, ATCL is planning to buy two planes by early next year. “We are planning to purchase two new planes. We’re negotiating with commercial banks so as to realise the goal by early next year,” company acting managing director, Captain Lusajo Lazaro said.On April 19, an ATCL Dash 8Q-300 aircraft had an accident that caused the firm a loss of Sh500 million, but there was no loss of life. The company received Sh10.2 billion from the plane’s insurance premium.
Recently, the government injected Sh4.9 billion into the national carrier for aircraft maintenance and operations. Tangible gains are yet to be made to date. The government has been paying salaries of the 200 or more workers.
Transport minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said on June 1, this year that the government would put a stop to incur expenses for companies that did not deliver. He added that a difficult decision had to be made regarding the future of ATCL.