Our Story




  • Pre- independent Era
  • After Tanganyika independence
  • During the first East Africa Community
  • During Economic Reform
  • After the collapse of the East Africa Community

                                                                                                                               Pre-Independence era

Pre-Independence formal aviation activities in East Africa started in 1929 by a lady called Mrs Florence Wilson based in Nairobi, Kenya. Mrs Wilson established Wilson Airways for charter services and later scheduled airmail services between Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kampala. The airline existence ended in 1939 following the outbreak of the world war and all its aircraft were taken by the then Air Force.

A single authority for air transport responsible to the governments of Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Uganda and Kenya, then under the British colonial empire, was recommended by a Committee in 1943. Thereafter this led to the establishment of East African Airways Corporation (EAAC) incorporated in London in October 1945. In 1948 the East African High Commission was established which provided among others common services in transport and communications. Air transport was managed by this Commission.

EAAC first operations served Nairobi, Mombasa, Tanga, Zanzibar, Dar-es-Salaam, Lindi, Morogoro, Nduli, Southern Highlands, Chunya, Mbeya, Moshi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kitale and Entebbe.

It was using six ex-RAF   DH89A Dominies   aircraft leased from British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). In 1948 EAAC fleet was expanded to include five   Lockheed 18-56  Lodestars purchased from BOAC. At the same time newly ordered de Havilland Doves was delivered to replace the   DH89A Dominies.

  1. The EAAC grew in numbers of aircraft operated, expanded route structure in Africa, Europe and Far East (Pakistan and India).

   After Tanganyika Independence

Between 1961 and 1963 the East African States gained their independence from Britain which resulted in structural and operational changes in civil aviation administration and the airline.  Eas t African States gained their independence from Britain which resulted in structural and operational changes in civil aviation administration and the airline. 

The East African Common Services Organization, the regional independent body replaced East African High Commission soon after Tanganyika got its independence in 1961 with Dustan Omar, a Tanzania as its first Secretary General.

Among its responsibilities included providing common services in transport and communications. Civil aviation was one of the services under the transport sector. It was managed under the East African Directorate of Civil Aviation. The Directorate responsibilities included provision of air navigation services in the region, aircraft registration, personnel licensing, air transport economic matters and, search and rescue coordination.

The Directorate of Civil Aviation was managed by a Director General based in Nairobi Kenya supported by three directors who were stationed in the three East African countries. The Area Control Centre was also located in Nairobi while Aerodrome Division was directly manned by individual East African States.

Meanwhile the first East African Citizen to ascent to the chairmanship of the East African Airlines Corporation was a Tanzanian called Chief Abdullah Fundikira at the end of 1964.

The birth of East African Community in 1967 marked the end of East African Common Services organisation. Thus common services, including civil aviation previously managed by the East African Common Services Organisation were passed to the East African Community.