Tanzania will spend TZS468 billion shillings (USD201 million) to purchase five aircraft - including two B737-9 MAX - to be placed with Air Tanzania (TC, Dar es Salaam) in the coming financial year, according to Transport Minister Makame Mbarawa.

Tabling his ministry's budget in the National Assembly on May 23, he said the government had entered contracts for the purchase of:

The new aircraft are expected to be delivered in early 2023. The aim was to expand Air Tanzania's reach as a regional passenger and cargo carrier and to make Tanzania a main transport and logistics hub in East Africa, he said.

In the past nine months, Air Tanzania has received three new aircraft, including two A220-300s carrying 132 passengers each and one DHC-8-Q400 turboprop for 76 passengers, he added. By April 2022, Air Tanzania had a fleet of 11 active aircraft, compared to eight in February 2020, he said.

The announcement raised eyebrows amongst local media, which pointed out that more than 65% of the TZS36.18 billion (USD15.5 million) losses sustained by Air Tanzania in the 2020/21 financial year were due to the pandemic-linked inactivity of its two B787-8s. This had been disclosed by the country's Controller and Auditor General (CAG) in his 2020/21financial report. He ascribed the airlines' losses to most of Air Tanzania's in-house fleet having cost more to operate than the revenue they generated. Only two of its aircraft - one of its two active A220-300s and one DHC-8-Q400 - generated profits in 2020/21.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Air Tanzania's current fleet comprises:

  • four A220-300s;
  • two B787-8s;
  • five DHC-8-Q400s;
  • one DHC-8-Q300 (inactive).

The entire compliment is owned by TGF - Tanzania Government Flight (Dar es Salaam) which in turn leases them out to Air Tanzania.

Meanwhile, Mbarawa said between July 2021 and April 2022, Air Tanzania had transported 53% more passengers than in the same period the year before, totalling 663,016 passengers.

On the cargo side, it had exported 1,953 tonnes - an increase of 70% compared to 1,152 tonnes transported in the same period in 2020/21. This increase was due to the introduction of cargo flights between Guangzhou, China and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from August 2021, as well as the resumption of Mumbai Int'l flights from India, which had been postponed due to the pandemic.

Mbarawa said the bigger fleet had enabled Air Tanzania to expand its route network. Regional routes launched included Lubumbashi (DRC), Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), and Ndola (Zambia). Similarly, Air Tanzania has expanded its domestic network with flights between Dar es Salaam, Dodoma to Mwanza and had resumed flights between Dar es Salaam and Mtwara.

By April 2022, Air Tanzania had 26 stations, including 15 domestic ones and 11 international ones. Local stations include Arusha, Bukoba, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Geita, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Kigoma, Mbeya, Mpanda, Mtwara, Mwanza, Songea, Tabora, and Zanzibar.

International stations included: Bujumbura (Burundi), Entebbe/Kampala (Uganda), Moroni Int'l, (Comoros), Guangzhou (China), Harare Int'l (Zimbabwe), Lubumbashi (DRC), Lusaka and Ndola (Zambia), Mumbai (India), and Nairobi (Kenya). In addition, preparations to restore flights to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo (South Africa) continued.