Long-range planes to lift tourism

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday reaffirmed his willpower to acquire additional four aircrafts in efforts to introduce tourism supporting direct international flights.

Dr Magufuli, in his talks with Boeing’s Director of Sales Jim Deboo, said the government wants to buy three long-range aircrafts out of the envisaged four, adding that his administration was determined to acquire large planes from the US airplane manufacturer.

“We receive hardly two million tourists annually in Tanzania against other countries like Morocco that get over 12 million back-packers and this is mainly because we lack a vibrant national carrier to transport tourists directly from their countries.

Tanzania is among the five countries globally with attractive tourist attractions and yet tourists are forced to make flight connections through other countries before arriving here,” Dr Magufuli noted, regrettably.

The president explained further that the government plans to acquire one Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 NextGen aircraft,which is expected to arrive by next June as well as two Bombardiers CS300 with capacity of between 137 and 150 passengers, which are set for delivery between May and June, 2018.

He as well revealed plans to purchase one 262-seater Boeing 787 Dash 8 Dream Liner whose delivery is expected in June 2018, stating further that initial payments for the aircrafts have already been effected.

The president hinted that the recent acquisition of two new aircrafts by the government has considerably reduced fares in the aviation transport.

President Magufuli was on the other hand irked by some Tanzanians fond of belittling efforts made to revamp the national carrier while are full of praises for foreign airlines. “A person travelling from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza today is paying between 160,000/- and 200,000/- against the past fares that had surged to over 800,000/- on the route...yet, we still have prophets of doom belittling our efforts,” charged Dr Magufuli.

Present at the State House held meeting were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning Doto James and his Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications counterpart Dr Leonard Chamriho.

Meanwhile, Dr Magufuli yesterday met and bade farewell to Resident Representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Tanzania Tonia Kandiero who has been promoted to AfDB Director General, Southern Africa region.

President Magufuli appreciated the outgoing Resident Representative of the continental development bank for her efforts in spearheading execution of major development projects in the country, some of which are still under implementation. Dr Kandiero thanked the president and his government for the cooperation accorded to her during the six year period she worked in the country.

“I am leaving Tanzania at the time of strengthened relations with the bank...projects worth two billion US dollars have been implemented, particularly in road network,” Dr Kandiero said.

In another development, President Magufuli yesterday bade farewell to Cuban Ambassador in Tanzania Jorge Luis Lopez Tormo whose four-year service term in the country has ended.

Dr Magufuli thanked the outgoing Cuban envoy for his role in cementing the cordial bi-lateral relations between the two countries.

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