In its plans to extend its wings in African skies, Tanzania’s first private-owned airline, Precisionair, is looking to expand its services to cover Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Luanda in Angola.
The airline’s chairman, Mr. Michael Shirima, said the fast-growing Tanzanian registered air carrier has been looking for flying rights to cover Lubumbashi and Luanda as business between the two cities and Tanzania shows a positive image.
Mr. Shirima said his airline wanted to serve the two routes but failed to obtain flying rights to enter the skies in respective countries. He appealed the Tanzanian government to give the airline a supporting hand in getting the flying rights to cover the DRC and Angola cities.
He said the two destinations were key to PrecisionAir’s expansion program outside Tanzanian and East African skies.
The airline launched its fifth brand new ATR 42-500 aircraft as part of its fleet modernization program, which aviation analysts took as a milestone development in Tanzania’s aviation sector.
The newly-launched aircraft was named Kigoma in recognition of the support that the people of Kigoma had accorded the airline since it introduced the first passenger-scheduled flights there 10 years ago.
ATR 42–500 equipment has been designed to land on unpaved runways in various airports including Kigoma, Tabora, Shinyanga, and Musoma.
Precisionair’s managing director, Mr. Alfonse Kioko, said the new aircraft will feature state-of-the-art, in-flight entertainment, allowing passengers to watch movies and listen to music while in the sky.
In 2006, PrecisionAir and ATR signed a US$129 million deal to deliver seven brand new aircraft. The last two aircraft will be delivered in June and July this year.
In total, they have eight aircraft, including Boeing 737 equipment. The airline has been serving most routes in key tourist sites of Tanzania, mostly the bustling northern tourist city of Arusha.
PrecisionAir services cover the most frequented routes in East Africa, including Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya and Entebbe in Uganda. Some of the routes were served by Tanzania’s ailing national carrier, Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), whose aircraft have been grounded and some are currently undertaking maintenance services.
The Lake Victoria’s sprawling city of Mwanza and the Indian Ocean’s tourist island of Zanzibar have been a recent target by PrecisionAir. The airline has introduced two special aircraft in both Mwanza and Zanzibar to serve the increasing number of passengers and tourists flying to those towns.