By: Alvar Mwakyusa
AFTER the successful launch of new routes in Zambia and Zimbabwe, the national carrier, Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), is set to expand its wings in the southern African region with flights to Johannesburg, South Africa in June this year.
At present, the revamped national airline operates in ten domestic routes as well as regional flights to Bujumbura in Burundi, Entebbe in Uganda and the Comoros.
It currently transports 50,000 passengers each month. In addition, the company said yesterday that it had finalized all legal and commercial procedures to enable it launch flights to Mumbai in India on July 11, this year, according to ATCL's Head of Public Relations, Mr Josephat Kagirwa. "Starting June 28 ATCL will be operating flights to Johannesburg four times a week.
The company is also making final touches to start flying to China," Mr Kagirwa explained during a news conference at the company offices in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Domestically, Mr Kagirwa said the company is currently studying the possibility of starting new routes to Tanga, Musoma, Mpanda and Pemba airports. Just recently, the company resumed flights to Mtwara and Iringa airports.
At present, Air Tanzania flies to 10 airports inside Tanzania, using its three 'Bombardier Q 400' planes that have the carrying capacity of 76 passengers, considerably improving domestic travel.
The airline also operates between Dar es Salaam and Entebbe via Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) by using its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
Meanwhile, Mr Kagirwa said the company is working closely with government authorities on the safety of flying to Mtwara given the looming Tropical Cyclone Kenneth which is forecasted to make its landfall in north Mozambique by midday tomorrow.
"If there is any alert for cancellation of flights we will inform our passengers," he explained, stressing that no plane takes off before checking with weather agency.