Africa: Tanzania to Earn S Billion Yearly After Retaking Airspace

Tanzania has written to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) requesting so be given the mandate of monitoring a portion of the airspace that handed to Kenya due to safety reasons.

The area in question is the eastern triangle airspace which East Africa's largest country was unable to handle to in the past because it did not have enough surveillance radars.

The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) acting director of air navigation services, Mr Gideon Msheri told The Citizen last week that the country now anticipates to get enough surveillance radars to guide international airlines passing the eastern triangle airspace thus necessitating the need to get area back.

By getting the area back, Tanzania will stand a position of earning at least S billion annually which it currently losses out to Kenya.

The eastern triangle also covers Madagascar, Mauritius, Moroni and Mayotte islands.

"We have lost a lot of revenues during the past 38 years and we now need the airspace back," said Mr Msheri.

Icao, which delegated the area to Kenya after the Tanzania failed to control it, had already responded to the letter.

What is awaited now is for Icao to set a date for the meeting between the two countries.

Mr Msheri exuded optimism that the area would be given back given to Tanzania, saying the law allows any country to seek back its area after satisfying itself and Icao that it would be able to manage it.

"We now have the required surveillance capacity," he said.

Earlier this year, TCAA installed a very high frequency radio station in Tanga to oversee the air space to ensure security to airline operators.

Using its own funds, the TCAA is also planning to buy four modern radars, two of which will be bought this financial year.

TCAA director-general, Hamza Johari told journalists in Dar es Salaam recently that the authority has set aside Sh8.8 billion during this financial year and a similar amount from last financial year for the purpose.

TCAA annual budget stands at Sh56 billion and Mr Johari said the new radars would be fixed at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza airport.

"After that we are going to purchase two more radars, which will be fixed at Kilimanjaro International Airport and Mbeya. With those four radars, we will be able to monitor our entire airspace and beyond," he said.

While the government struggles to buy aircrafts for the ailing Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), little attention seems to have been put on safety, which makes the country's aviation competitive and also generates revenue from international airlines.

In an interview, Mr Johari was hopeful that with strategies in place, the aviation sector would record a number of new achievements.

The deputy minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Mr Edwin Ngonyani, commended TCAA's efforts, saying with the new radars, airlines from different corners of the world be confident in the use of Tanzania's sky.

Source: The Citizen.