After a 20-plus year hiatus, Tanzania’s national carrier, Air Tanzania, landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Friday, resuming daily flights between the two East African neighbours.
The arrival of the new ultra-modern Airbus A220-300 today at 6:45 a.m. in Nairobi marks the start of the carrier’s double-daily Dar es Salaam to Nairobi route, strategic to the carrier’s fleet and network expansion plans in Africa.
The restart of this route has been prompted by improved bilateral relations, increased trade between the two countries, inter-governmental relations, tourism, extension of familial and friendly ties and the need to connect the region with other markets.
“We are extremely delighted to resume Nairobi route, which is one of the most significant destinations in East Africa and a key aviation hub as well,” said Eng. Ladislaus Matindi, the Managing Director and CEO of Air Tanzania. We at Air Tanzania are looking forward to bolstering the relations between Tanzania and Kenya, who have been trusted friends and sincere partners for decades, with this non-stop air service.”
Air Tanzania, Africa’s newest fleet, will fly the Airbus A220-300, a 132-seater with 12 business class seats and 120 economy class seats that is renowned for unrivaled comfort levels for aircraft in its category.
The airline will depart Dar-es-Salaam at 5:30 a.m. to arrive in Nairobi at 6:45 a.m. and depart Nairobi at 7:45 a.m. to arrive in Dar at 9 a.m., at a cost of Sh. 37,525 ($334) for a round trip and roughly Sh. 23, 594 ($210) for one way travel on the new Dar-Nairobi route. The evening flights will depart Julius Nyerere International Airport at 8 p.m. and arrive in Nairobi at 9:15 p.m., and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 10:15p.m. to arrive in Tanzania at 11:30 p.m.
“This schedule has been created with the passenger’s comfort in mind. For example, a Kenyan who needs to fly to Dar es Salaam for business can do so without incurring the added cost of an overnight stay. The person can fly out at 7:45 a.m., landing in Dar es Salaam at 9 a.m., then return to Nairobi at 9:15 p.m. on the same day. It also connects to the main flights into and out of Nairobi’s JKIA airport, allowing travellers to connect quickly,” added Eng. Matindi.
Apart from Nairobi, Air Tanzania has announced three new regional routes this month from Dar es Salaam to Bujumbura (Burundi), Ndola (Zambia), and Lubumbashi (DR Congo) as the country seeks to expand passenger services to new markets in Africa, Asia, and Europe as international borders reopen and travel restrictions ease. Mumbai (India), Hahaya (Comoros), Lusaka (Zambia), Harare (Zimbabwe), Entebbe (Uganda), and Guangzhou (China) are among the destinations served by Air Tanzania. It will add Johannesburg (South Africa), Lagos (Nigeria), Accra (Ghana), and London (United Kingdom) to its destinations in the coming months.
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Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) presently has eleven new modernized aircraft in its fleet, with eight of them joining in the last three years including five Bombardiers Q400’s, four Airbus A220-300’s, and two Boeing 787-800 Dreamliners. ATCL has also made orders for additional six aircraft for Ksh73 billion ($726 million), including a Bombadier Q 400, two Boeing 737-900s, two Boeing 787-800 Dreamliners, and one Boeing 767 Freighter, all of which are due to enter the fleet within the next two years.
Kenya and Tanzania have a lot in common in socioeconomic development. According to figures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Tanzanian exports to Kenya increased to Sh. 20.5 billion in the first half of the year, up from Sh. 10.8 billion the previous year. The value of Kenyan exports sent to Tanzania grew to Sh. 17.8 billion from Sh. 14 billion attributable to improved commercial links between the two neighboring countries. There has been a growth in tourism traffic as well as high-level visits, capacity-building training, and business trips between the two countries.