History of Air Tanzania Company Limited

Air Tanzania Company Limited, The Flag Carrier: Wings of the Kilimanjaro

Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) the Tanzanian flag-carrier, was established on 11 March, 1977, to operate the services suspended following the brake up of East African Airways (EAA), which was owned jointly by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.


In the initial moment, the airline leased one Douglas DC-9-32 5Y-ALR from Kenya Airways and one Boeing 707-331 YN-BWL (exN762TW) from Areo Nica. Regular and domesic flights followed by useing Boeings 737-200s and Fokkker F27s and adding de Havilland Twin Otters to its fleet for domestic services from Kilimanjaro.


The fleet was gradually upgraded by 2 no Boeing 737-200s, 4 no Fokker F27s and 4 no DHC 6 Twin Otter. Due to decreased traffic, two of the F27s (reg. unknown)were removed from services in 1981, but were returned two years later only to be removed again in 1984. The airline leased a single Boeing 767-200 1991/1992 from Ethiopian Airlines but this aircraft was to large and the airline had to dispose it. The carrier also leased a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, G-BNSA during 1989.

Air Tanzania Initial flights

During 1980/81 the airline operated international/regional flights from Dar es Salaam to Athens (707), Antanarivo (737), Bombay (707) Bujumbura (737, Cairo (707), Frankfurt (707), Kigali (737), London-Gatwick (707), Maputo (737), Mauritius (737), Moroni (FKF), Muscat (737) and Rome (707).


Domestic flights from Dar es Salam to Bukoba (DHT), Dodoma (DHT/FKF), Iringa (DHT), Kigoma (737), Kilimanjaro (707/737/DHT/FKF), Kilwa (DHT/FKF), Lindi (FKF), Mafia (DHT), Masasi (DHT), Mbeya (DHT), Mtwara (737/DHT/FKF), Musoma (FKF), Mwanza (737/FKF), Nachingwea (FKF), Njombe (DHT), Pemba (DHT/FKF), Songea (FKF), Tabora (FKF), Zanzibar (DHT/FKF).

The venture Air Tanzania/South African Airways

Air Tanzania was privatized late 1998 and planned to be merged into Alliance Air but the plans were cancelled and the airline remained state-owned. The airline was originally wholly owned by the Tanzanian government via Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC).

In February 2002, the government began the process of privatizing the airline and advertisments were placed in the local, regional and international media inviting potential bidders. Four airlines of eight bidders carried out diligence; South African Airways (SAA), Kenya Airways, Comair and Nationwide. The government selected SAA as the winning bidder. In December the same year, SAA signed an agreement with the government and purchased a 49% stake in ATC.

The two Boeing 737-2R8C (Adv) aircrafts 5H-ATC and 5H-MRK were withdrawn from service and was stored in South Africa. SAAs plans were to renew the fleet by Boeing 737-800s but the fleet was "renewed" by four old Boeing 737-200s, two Fokker F-28s and two De Haviland Dash 8-315.

On 31st Januari 2005, Air Tanzanaia suspended one of its few regional services from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, Kenya, following intense competition from Kenya Airways on the route.

The same year Air Tanzania recorded a pre-tax loss of almost USD 7,3 million in its first year of the privatisation and part ownership by SAA. The loss was mainly attributed to the inability to expand the network as quickly and extensively as originaly planned. It had been hoped to launch services to Dubai, India and Europe but these had been delayed as there were only Boeing 737-200s in the fleet. The development of Dar es Salaam International Airport as a hub for SAA alliance had also not proceeded as planned.

On 7th September 2006 the government of Tanzania bought back the 49 per cent stake in ATC for USD 1 million, hence officially terminating its partnership with SAA. The venture collapsed due to the partners different interests in the business.

Air Tanzania "Wings of Kilimanjaro"

Air Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL) "Wings of Kilimanjaro" was relaunched in September 2007 after the dissulution of the partnership with South African Airways (SAA). The "new" airlines inagural flight went to Mwanza from Dar es Salaam via Kilimanjaro. The introduction of the airline's new logo bears the image of the national symbol, "The Giraffe", to replace the SAA flag symbol. The "new" aircraft in the fleet, the Airbus A320 was leased from Wallis Trading Company on a two years contract.

In February 2008, the carrier acquired two Dash Bombardier DHC 8-311, 5H-MWG and 5H-MWF from NAC, Nordic Aviation Conractor A/S.  

During October ATCL replaced the Airbus A320 on the Dar es Salaam - Moroni, Comoros Islands route by Dash-8-311Q aircrafts.

Later in the same month, TAC decided to volontarily resign from IATA membership in order to preserve its status while preparing for the 105A audit which is a prerequisite for all member airlines. The company was granted the Air Operator Certificate by TCAA two weeks later and was in a process to return to IATA.

In early 2010 , ATCL signed a 18 month contract with the lessor for operating the remaining B737-200 5H-MVZ. The government of Tanzania took the decision to invite more international firms to vie for a stake in Air Tanzania even though the government enters the final stages of a two-year discussions with China Sonangol Internationl Holdings Ltd. Five firms based in the US, the UK and the United Arab Emirates have also shown interests in running the airline.

AIR TANZNIA back in skies

In November 2011 happens the resumption of service by ACTL, following the return of one Bombardier Q300, 5H-MWG from extensive service in South Africa.

Air Tanzania codeshares with Air Uganda and Air Zimbabwe.

ACTL has plans of increaasing its fleet size to 11 aircraft within the next five years.

Discover Air Tanzania Destinations