The minister for Works, Transport and Communication Isack Kamwelwe made this observation in a ministerial function at the weekend, noting that the formal arrangements were being finalized via negotiations between the Ministry Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the destination countries.
He was speaking over the weekend during a graduation ceremony for first batch of 24 flight attendants who graduated from the National Institute of Transport (NIT).
He said negotiations were at an advanced stage and by the end of this month ATCL will start flying to India and in early June start going to China via the Thai capital of Bangkok.
“The routes are ready but we also know the various challenges facing flight attendants in the country, therefore your graduation is a sign that we are on the right track,” he told the graduands.
The course was established by NIT to complement a strategic plan by the government to train more Tanzanians into aviation professions.
The 24 graduates will be employed by the ATCL, the minister affirmed, highlighting that they are expected to facilitate smooth operations as ATCL plans to extend its routes to Asia and Europe.
The government has set aside 945bn/- in the 2018/19 financial year for the revival of ATCL, he further noted.
NIT Rector Prof Zacharia Mganilwa said data showed the number of passengers using air transport had significantly increased from four million in the 2017/2018 financial year.
He said the Institute is planning to increase the number of students to be enrolled in aviation courses to complement government efforts to develop the sector.
A programme to revitalize Air Tanzania started two years ago, with the government purchasing six new aircraft up to late last year, paying ATCL debts and providing further start-up capital. President John Magufuli says the funds and planes are loans that the government has extended to ATCL.
Air Tanzania has vast plans to grow its operations across the region, in Africa as well as destinations in the Far East and elsewhere.
The once ailing Airline is now bracing to participate in a competitive commercial environment, with the president warning that if it doesn’t turn a profit, the government will lease the planes to another carrier.
Air Tanzania was established as Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) in September in 1977 after the collapse of the regional carrier, East African Airways. The airline has usually been operating at a loss and reliant on government subsidies.