An Air Tanzania plane that was due to fly from the OR Tambo International Airport on Friday was impounded by South African authorities. This followed a court order issued by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
No information has since been released by either the South African Civil Authority nor the Tanzania Government on the seizure. This could be due to an outstanding $4.1 Million debt that the Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) owes South African Airways that had accrued during a failed partnership between the two airlines between 2002 and 2006.
It is worth noting that the current airline fleet is fully managed by Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA), in an effort to avoid cases of the aircrafts getting impounded due to debts owed to previous suppliers/partners by ATCL.
In 2017, another Air Tanzania plane, a Tanzania’s new Q400 turbo-prop, was seized by a Canadian construction firm, Stirling Civil Engineering Ltd, over a $38 million lawsuit, before it had been delivered. The plane was later released in March 2018.
Tanzania started the programme to revive the national carrier three years ago. The programme entailed buying six new planes between 2016 and 2018, settling debts, enhancing and modernising business systems, and acquiring capital.
The airline’s revival has since seen it commence flights to various international destinations like India, China and South Africa.