Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), the little known flag carrier of Tanzania, is finally set to switch operation of its 787-8 Dreamliner from domestic to international routes. The single Dreamliner in the airline's fleet was received on 8th July 2018, and currently serves the domestic Dar-es-Salaam - Kilimanjaro - Mwanza route on a daily basis.
Using such an aircraft on a domestic route especially for an emerging market may seem like an overkill on the airline's part, but this was done so as to familiarize the crew on the new plane's operational procedures.
However, beginning 28th June 2019, the aircraft will serve the Dar-es-Salaam - Johannesburg (DAR - JNB) route four times weekly. Beginning 17th July 2019, the aircraft will serve the Dar-es-Salaam - Mumbai (DAR-BOM) route three times weekly. Upon the commencement of the DAR-BOM route, the DAR-JNB route's operation will switch to an Airbus A220-300, of which Air Tanzania is the sole African operator.
It is worth noting that Air Tanzania had previously served the routes mentioned above, having served the DAR-JNB route until February 2009, and the DAR-BOM route until May 1992. These routes, among others, were dropped due to the airline's turbulent financial history, and was at one point even nicknamed Any Time Cancellation (ATC). The routes were only re-considered in 2016 following a push to revive the airline's operations by the then new President of Tanzania, Dr. John Magufuli.
These new international routes come at a time when the airline is also increasing its domestic reach, having launched the Dar-es-Salaam - Mtwara and Dar-es-Salaam - Iringa routes in April 2019, both being served using the Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft.
In addition to the new routes, the carrier's hub at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) is undergoing expansion, set to be complete in June 2019. When in operation, the JNIA Terminal 3 is expected to handle 6 million passengers annually, which would be a major boost to Tanzania's tourism sector, which is vital to the country's economy as a whole.
These are indeed interesting times for the African carrier, and we at AeroNewsX wish them all the very best with the new ventures, and will watch closely to see how these develop.