What Is Going On With Air Tanzania’s 787?!

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Travel

Unfortunately I don’t have any insights here, but rather I’d just like to express my continued confusion. Air Tanzania has what I’d like to think is the most interesting aircraft delivery of 2018.

This small airline previously only had turboprops, but this July they took delivery of a Boeing 787, with the registration code 5H-TCG. And that’s all they had on order — the airline ordered a single Boeing 787, making them the only airline to place such a small order.

This is a fascinating move on many levels, to go from operating a few turboprops to spending the money on a 787.

The airline announced that they’d initially operate the 787 on short domestic flights. This is normal, as airlines will often do familiarization flights for their crews, so that they can get used to the planes before starting longhaul service.

Then Air Tanzania announced that their longhaul 787 route would be to Mumbai. That’s not exactly where I was expecting the airline to fly with a single Boeing 787, but I guess it makes sense. On Air Tanzania’s website they even list the fares and what days of the week the flight will operate.

But here’s the bizarre part — the airline has now had the Boeing 787 for four months, and they still haven’t actually announced when they’ll start flights to Mumbai. I get it can take a while to launch a route, but that’s all the more reason that this makes zero sense to me.

You’d think they’d want to announce it ASAP so they can start selling seats and marketing the flight, but that hasn’t happened. Ideally they’d want at least six months notice to properly market the flight, but at a minimum they’ll want a few months.

It goes without saying that using a 787 for a short hour-long domestic flight isn’t a great use of the plane, so I do have to wonder what exactly the plan is here. Something doesn’t seem right, and I feel like maybe they’re having second thoughts, or something.

I’ve Tweeted the airline and have tried to reach out to their PR people, to no response. So I have no clue what’s going on.

But I continue to find this incredibly interesting, that four months into having the plane join their fleet, they haven’t announced a launch date for longhaul flights. Instead the 787 is just operating the occasional domestic flight (it’s not even flying daily), which sure seems like a money-losing way to use the plane.

Has anyone heard anything regarding their progress, or want to wager a guess as to what’s going on? I’m so excited to fly the Air Tanzania 787, but…

  1. Air Tanzania is still waiting for approval from the Indian government. As you can imagine, there’s a bit of bureaucracy in India…

  2. It looks like the matter was discussed with The Parliamentary Public Investment Committee this week. Air Tazanias CEO, Ladislaus Matindi was quoted as saying that the airline has 10 highly qualified pilots for the Dreamliner which is ready to embark on the Mumbai route.

    “We have qualified pilots who are currently flying our Dreamliner and they are doing well,” said Mr Matindi, hinting that by December this year, the company will have a total of 44 pilots against its demand of over 50.

    He went on to say; ” The company has embarked on a special programme to recruit and train inexperienced pilots from the market…there are many trained young pilots in the domestic market …they only lack experience in flying aircraft. So, we take them through the bridging courses to qualify as pilots for our aircraft,” said Mr Matindi, adding that the airline has also worked on competitive packages to retain the skilled aviators”

    Maybe they are waiting until they are sure they have enough pilots for the long haul?

  3. The plane gets parked at the best gate in DAR every day (when it’s not flying to Mwanza and back.) It’s as much as trophy as it is an aircraft. Makes for a good avgeek photo op when boarding flights on other airlines!

  4. According to a press release from the High Commission of India flights are supposed to start in December:

    “Tanzania invited greater Indian investment and business linkages in areas such as agro-products, manufacturing, mining, tourism and informed that Air Tanzania plans to start direct flights between Dar es Salaam and Mumbai in December 2018.”


  5. It’s because the company is in debt. It has not made a single international flight because they are afraid of auctioneers.

  6. They definitely used to have at least one 737. Flew with them about 20 years ago. They also served these really tasty meat skewers.

  7. Have you heard of Air Peace? A Nigerian airline, they’ve taken delivery of some 777, I think they used to fly for Emirates, but are yet to announce the international routes

  8. I was told by a (QR) 787 captain that ATC have Trent engines which aren’t ETOPS certified on the 787 (unlike RR) so it can’t fly long distances over water. This could mean that they have to fly a more cicurtuous route to BOM mostly over or near land.

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