TANZANIA’S national flag carrier, Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), has begun discussions with other airline companies in Namibia and Botswana as part of a move aimed at extending further its business operations within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and beyond.
The move comes close on the heels of the recently ended 39th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government which was preceded by the fourth SADC industrialisation week and exhibitions held in Dar es Salaam.
ATCL Managing Director Engineer Ladislaus Matindi told the ‘Daily News’ in a telephone interview yesterday that the discussions were focusing on exploring areas of collaborations between the national airline and those in Namibia and Botswana, for the airlines to carry out their operations between their respective countries to Johannesburg in South Africa.
Eng Matindi said the intention is for ATCL to take over from there by transporting passengers from Johannesburg to Tanzania and other routes with flights covering India, Uganda and Burundi.
“The initiative is anticipated to generate further, an increase in business traffic within the country, the SADC region and across the continent,” said Eng Matindi.
He noted, however, that there had been an increase in the number of passengers who use ATCL flights from countries that include Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. According to him, those destinations are
connected through the company’s flights operating to and from South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The ATCL boss reported that the business environment during the summit had experienced quite a boost in terms of the passengers and delegates who used the airline to come to Tanzania for the important meeting.
“The airline has reported a surge from its operations during the period when the summit was going on in the country,” noted the MD.
He identified some of the high ranking figures who used the plane to travel to and from Tanzania for the summit as including the President of the Union of Comoros, Mr Azali Assoumani and the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Mr Mandvulo Dlamini.
Others are the Executive Secretary of SADC Dr Stergomena Tax and her whole delegation. He observed that the delegation used the airline to travel to Tanzania and it is being anticipated that they will use ATCL during their return flights.
To that end, TTCL Corporation Public Relations Manager, Mr Nicodemus Mushi disclosed that the company had already taken advantage of the availability of the fibre optic national backbone to expand its business operation to the neighbouring landlocked countries situated within the SADC region.
Mr Mushi cited the countries with which the corporation had been in touch in terms of business in the network systems as Malawi in the SADC region and Rwanda in the East African Community (EAC).
“The summit has opened up more business opportunities and currently the company is eying to go to other countries within the SADC region such as Seychelles, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique,” said Mr Mushi.
Besides opportunities garnered within the SADC region, he said the company used the summit to acquire new customers who visited their booth, including the delegates, some of whom collected TTCL chips. He said that majority of the people own mobile phones, specifically smart phones, but very few were conversant with using some of the features in the sophisticated gadgets, therefore TTCL staff were present during the summit to give technical assistance.
“On top of all, TTCL were among the sponsors at the summit providing fast and efficient free WIFI services at all the time to the participants.
“We ensured that our services were accessible to all; everyone who attended the forum could use the internet free of charge...journalists would file their stories from the conference hall without any hustle,” noted the PR.