AIR Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL) is planning to fly three times a week to Mumbai, India toward the end of third quarter. The frequency is planned to start once the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner arrives anytime from next month.
The national flag carrier said it was in a final preparation to welcome the Dreamliner from the manufacturer.
ATCL Commercial and Business Development Director, Mr Patrick Ndekana, said they envisaged to start flying to Mumbai in September if everything goes as planned.
“We have done a number of market research and seen it’s a lucrative route,” Mr Ndekana said. He added “there are a number of challenges but we are also geared to those challenges as well, since there is no route that has no competitions.”
The ATCL said the due diligence for the frequency showed there an enough traffic ranging from medical tourists to businesspeople.
“Also there are a number of tourists from India coming to Tanzania…a direct flight will simplify flying between the two countries,” the Director said. He hinted that the route may also open a forward booking doors beyond Mumbai.
Also the airline plans to fly three times a week to Bujumbura, Burundi through Kigoma and four times a week via Kilimanjaro to Entebbe, Uganda.
The Bujumbura and Entebbe flights are expected to start in November using bombardiers CS 300, with capacity to carry some 190 passengers.
At the moment, ATCL flies to single foreign destination, Comoro. But Mumbai, Entebbe, Bujumbura are in the pipeline. Also Harare, Zimbabwe and Lusaka, Zambia are in the itinerary of B787-800 and bombardier CS 300.
“The Dreamliner will be deployed for long haul routes, but once there are enough domestic or regional passenger loads the aircraft will be used,” he said.
Meanwhile, the airline also has signed an agreement with a global distribution system (GDS), Travelport, to enable bookings in and outside the country.
“We have already signed the agreement and currently we are testing systems prior to launch. “This will enable accessibility of our products globally,” Mr Ndekana said.
Apart from GDS, the airline also is refurbishing its website to enable hassle free online booking and elevated call centre working hours from 14 to 24 hours.
“When we say ‘tunapasua anga’ [we are roaring in the sky] we mean it,” Mr Ndekana said. The government took a bold move late 2016 to turn around the airline that was in the verge of collapsing operating single equipment.
However, two years later, ATCL is operating three aircrafts with three more envisaging arriving between now and November this year.
The three are B787-800, delivery is expected before August and two Bombardiers CS 300 arriving in November, if all go as planned.