|TANZANIA IS AT A RECOVERY STAGE OF AIR TRANSPORT SERVICES RESUMPTION FOLLOWING COVID-19|
“Tanzania is in the Recovery phase of air transport services after the suspension of commercial passenger flights between January and June 2020 the time during which the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was severe in the aviation industry. In the bid to resume the flights, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) came up with Restart, Recovery and Resilience (3R’s) initiative for its Member States whereby Tanzania has passed the Restart stage and currently putting its all efforts in recovering the industry from the impact suffered following the outbreak of COVID-19 on 31 December 2020 which is still prevalent today”
This was said by the Director General (DG) of Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), Mr. Hamza S. Johari during the opening ceremony of the 48th National Air Transport Facilitation Committee meeting popularly known as National FAL, held at the TCAA Headquarters (Aviation House) in Dar es Salaam on 15th January, 2021. The Committee was privileged to have the DG Johari as the Guest of Honor during the opening of the meeting prior to which he had some remarks to make.
DG Johari pointed out that the ICAO 3R’s for air transport services are guidelines intended to encourage the ICAO Member States to open up their respective airspaces and allow resumption of commercial passenger flights while observing measures related to minimizing further spread of COVID-19. This follows the visionary leadership and guidance of the President Dr. John Pombe Magufuli throughout the period of the pandemic that led Tanzania to close its airspace for commercial passengers flight on 11 April 2020 for 37 days only. Unlike many counties in the world, Tanzania closed its airspace for a very short period of time. Many countries closed their respective airspaces for more than five months.
“I urge the Committee to collectively brainstorm on the effective Recovery strategies and devise ways of making the industry resilient to fight the impact of global megatrends in future”, DG Johari said. The megatrends have a huge impact in air transport and since air transport has a strong multiplier effect on other sectors of economy, the impact affect States both economically, socially, politically and diplomatically.
He further said that, the committee has a key role of ensuring quality of airport services from the service providers so as to have competitive airports and aviation systems in the region.
The DG Johari remarked that Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) is notably the first airport in Africa and among the very few globally to receive the COVID-19 Safety Rating. The airport was awarded a 3-Star rating after detailed appraisal of anti COVID-19 health measures by Skytrax. The COVID-19 Airport Rating includes cleaning and disinfection procedures and consistency, social distancing policies and control, face mask usage, sanitizer availability, standard and use of PPE by staff in the airport, and other hygiene applications being used.
He added that this award and many others, is a testimony of the country preparedness to fight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which brings a confidence to tourists and other travelers wishing to come to the United Republic of Tanzania.
Furthermore, the DG Johari told the Committee that Tanzania has recently received several global recognitions awards including The World Travel Stamp (August 2020) which recognizes Tanzania as one of the Safe Travel Destinations and The Best African Leading National Park (Serengeti) for years 2019 and 2020) by The World Travel Awards.
Other awards are those from The Gold Category Winner for Service Delivery by the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR in 2020), The Second Most Instagrammed National Park in Africa (Serengeti) by Mainland Aggregates of USA in 2020 and Kilimanjaro National Parks being a 5 times Winner as Africa’s Leading Tourism Destination (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) by The World Travel Awards.
On top of that, he said the awards is a result of opening of the Tanzanian airspace on 17 May 2020 and the national pandemic management preparedness to fight the pandemic. Opening of the airspace amidst closure of many airspaces in the world following global decreasing impact of COVID-19 pandemic means a greatly improved influx of tourists in Tanzania as recently witnessed during the month of December and early January 2021 at JNIA, Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA) and Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).
“This Committee has a duty to ensure that tourist expectations are always met and this is important because many tourists and other travelers come from countries where the outbreak is critical; they need a high level of hospitality in terms of quality and professionalism to experience a motivating environment.
Moreover, DG Johari stressed on the airport strategy to strengthen non-aeronautical revenue sources for the purpose of making the destination Tanzania more competitive by a way of minimizing aeronautical charges. Citing the example of the Singapore Changi Airport which has a ratio of about 10:90 (aeronautical to non-aeronautical revenue), the DG pointed out that it is important to achieve the ICAO recommended ration of 50:50 in five years. If this is achieved, the burden to passengers will be lessened and destination Tanzania be cheaper.
“I am glad to learn that the state-of-the-art hotel and a modern supermarket are in pipeline for being built at Terminal II and III premises. This is a wonderful strategy aimed at increasing the window for non-aeronautical revenue sources for which I commend Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA). I therefore urge TAA to effectively implement this strategy” DG Johari concluded.
Adding up his comments, The National Chairman of the committee, who is also the Director Economic Regulation of TCAA, Mr. Daniel N. Malanga said that the Committee had scheduled to discuss the status of fourteen recommendations of ICAO through the Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART). He clarified that CART is an ICAO initiative to partner with its Member States, international and regional organizations, and industry to address these challenges and to provide global guidance for a safe, secure and sustainable restart and recovery of the aviation sector.
Mr. Malanga disclosed that airport preparedness for communicable diseases is a critical and close monitoring of compliance level against devised measures related to COVID-19 at airports is being done jointly between TCAA and the Ministry responsible for public health through the national multi-sectoral collaborative arrangement established in 2011 popularly known as CAPSCA (Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation). He said CAPSCA is functionally part of the National FAL.