Tanzanian government demands management changes at Air Tanzania

Overshadowed by the high-profile arrival of the first of two Bombardier Q400NG turboprop aircraft – the second one is expected within days now, President John Magufuli appointed a new Chairman of the Board of Directors for the national airline and also put a new CEO into place.

Engineer Emmanuel Korosso was named as new Board Chairman, while Engineer Ladislaus Matindi was named as new Director General on the same day.

Tanzania’s Minister for Transport and Communications, Prof. Makame Mbarawa has since then appointed five other board members, before officially introducing the new board to the public.

The Minister used the opportunity to give the new team just three months to clean the house and overhaul the entire management of the airline, effectively giving past and some present managers a vote of no confidence. This is in line with the regularly expressed opinion that former managers were personally responsible for the financial and operational mess the airline was in before the Magufuli government, after a thorough review of the sector, has decided to invest in the carrier, but on tough conditions of fundamental change.

In addition, the Minister demanded that members of the top management and also all staff must sign performance contracts and to be held accountable if they fail to turn the ailing national airline around within a matter of months.

Apart from the second Bombardier Q400NG, the Minister said that the government was also procuring two additional aircraft to be delivered in the first half of next year, which would bring the overall fleet to five and set the scene for a full scale revival.

Notably, three major carriers in Tanzania, including Precision Air and Fastjet, all recorded losses over the past years, which begs questions to be answered if perhaps more structural reforms of the sector are needed, with a review on taxation and fees charged.

Tanzania over the past years has made significant progress in rehabilitating and modernizing aviation infrastructure and, while beset with challenges of cost overruns and missed deadlines, many secondary airports as a result of such investments have managed to attract additional flights.