Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) is set to resume its Dar es Salaam – Mumbai flights in the next two weeks.
The new development comes after Tanzania and India signed a separate bilateral air bubble arrangement for operation of special international passenger flights between the two countries.
“We plan to start flying to India in the second week of this month. The schedule will be out by tomorrow (today),” ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi told The Citizen yesterday.
Mr Matindi said under the air bubble pact between the two countries, special international passenger flights can be operated by their airlines into each other’s territories under restrictive conditions.
Since July to date, India has formed such arrangements with around 18 countries, the India Civil Aviation ministry said last Wednesday.
Scheduled international flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, special international passenger flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under bilateral air bubble arrangements since July.
Before suspension of flights under normal arrangements, ATCL, which launched its maiden flight to Mumbai, India on July 17 last year, had been flying to the destination three times weekly—Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
ATCL is also planning to commence its Guangzhou, China flights towards the end of this month.
The national carrier is also preparing to resume flights to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Burundi, and South Africa.
The new development is a sign of the industry’s bouncing back from the Covid-19 pandemic.
ATCL, whose monthly passenger traffic stood at 70,000 before the Covid-19, is almost back to full swing.
Mr Matindi said the airline is now operating at between 90 and 95 percent of its pre-covid domestic market capacity, well above compared to 20 percent recorded during the worst months of the pandemic.
For his part, Precision Air managing director Patrick Mwanri said the airline was now operating at 40 percent of the pre-covid-19 capacity.
He said between April and May Precision Air was operating at10 percent of the pre-covid-19 capacity.
A 35 year old Swissport Tanzania, a ground handling service provider which handles 23 airlines, has since July been operating at 80 percent of its pre-pandemic cargo capacity, according to its CEO Mrisho Yassin.
This is a significant improvement if compared to an average of 40 percent recorded between March and June.
For ground handling business, he added, the company has from July been operating at between 50-60 percent of the pre-Covid-19 capacity, up compared to 20 percent.
Nas-Dar Airco is now operating at 50 percent of its cargo capacity, the percentage translated to 300 tons per month, according to its head of corporate affairs and government relations Evans Mlelwa.
From September, the ground handler served an average of 144 flights per month, well above compared to below 60 flights handled from April to July.
“There are increased airlines resuming though with reduced schedules. We expect significant increased schedules from December,” Mr Mlelwa told The Citizen.
A total of 12 out of 19 foreign airlines have resumed their flights to Dar es Salaam after the airlines have been grounded since March, according to the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal III acting manager, Mr Barton Komba.
Additional reporting Gadiosa Lamtey