Amidst the ongoing recovery of air transport services from the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant progress has been made to foster the rejuvenation of the aviation industry.
One such positive development is the bilateral meeting between experts from the Governments of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Russian Federation.
This crucial meeting was held Recently in Moscow,l.The meeting aimed to negotiate a new Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Tanzania and Russia, acknowledging that previous agreements had been affected by unforeseen events such as the COVID-19 outbreak.
The negotiations produced noteworthy improvements to the current BASA, included the expanded points of entry The designated airlines of Tanzania will now have three entry points in Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg. This is a significant enhancement from the previous BASA, which only allowed access to Moscow. Likewise, for the designated airlines of Russia, the entry points in Tanzania have been expanded to include Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro, in addition to Dar es Salaam, as agreed upon in the current BASA.
Likewise negotiations Included Code Sharing Provisions which now includes provisions on code sharing, recognizing the importance of cooperation among airlines in today's aviation industry. Code sharing is vital for maximizing airline yields, and its absence in the current BASA has been addressed to facilitate better business strategies for the airlines.
Also it facilitates Freedom Traffic Rights as the negotiations also encompassed discussions on the exercise of fifth freedom traffic rights by airlines. Both parties acknowledged that modern airlines need to extend freedoms beyond the traditional third and fourth to optimize yields. Under the new agreement, designated airlines from both countries may fly to a third country with this traffic right, subject to mutual agreement by the aeronautical authorities.
The discussions between the two expert teams were held in a cordial environment, despite occasional misunderstandings that were resolved through seeking consensus. It is natural for each party to advocate for the interests of its respective Government. One area that triggered intense debate was the requirement for filing fares by designated airlines for approval before commencing operations. While Russia submitted this proposal, Tanzania expressed that setting fares for airlines in today's liberalized business world is impracticable. Eventually, a middle ground was reached on this matter.
As a result of the successful negotiations, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Heads of Delegation from both parties. The final signing of the BASA will occur once the necessary institutional procedures of both Governments have been completed.
The Tanzanian delegation was led by Mr. Biseko Chiganga from the Ministry of Works and Transport, comprised experts from various government bodies and aviation authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, the Office of the Attorney General, as well as representatives from ATCL, Precision Air, KADCO, and Zanzibar Airports Authority.
Overall, the collaborative efforts of the expert teams from Tanzania and Russia have paved the way for an enhanced and mutually beneficial air services agreement between the two nations, fostering increased connectivity and opportunities for the aviation industry's growth in the post-pandemic world.