Air Tanzania posts huge losses

Tanzania’s national carrier posted a $26m (£18m) loss in the financial year 2019/20, according to a government audit.

“We have discovered that [the airline] has made losses of up to 60bn [Tanzanian shillings] but also in the past five years this company has been making losses annually. There are several challenges that the government ought address immediately,” Auditor General Charles Kichere was quoted as saying by The Citizen news site.

Reviving Air Tanzania operations was a flagship project of the late President John Magufuli who embarked on an ambitious state-backed plan in 2016 aimed at boosting tourism, trade and investment.

He also oversaw the construction of a new airport in the commercial hub, Dar es Salaam, approved another in the north-western town of Geita and also one in the outskirts of the capital, Dodoma.

As part of the revival Air Tanzania acquired two Boeing 787 Dreamliner, but critics say they have not been deployed to operate in lucrative routes.

The airline resumed regional and international flights in October 2020, seven months after it suspended operations because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

African airlines are expected to suffer a loss of $3.7bn in 2021, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).