Tanzania took delivery of its second Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for the national flag carrier Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) bringing to eight the total number of brand new delivered planes in its fleet.
Upon its arrival, the 262-seat Dreamliner christened Rubondo Island, a national park located on an island in Lake Victoria, received a water salute at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam in a ceremony officiated by President John Magufuli.
The delivery of the aircraft from the Boeing factory in Seattle, the United States, is part of plans by Magufuli’s government to revive ATCL.
The government plans to purchase a total of 14 new aircraft for the airline, said Leonard Chamriho, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication.
The official said eight aircraft have already been delivered, with four more expected to arrive between next month and 2021.
Speaking shortly before he commissioned the new aircraft, President Magufuli said his administration will ensure total revival of the national airline which had been ailing for a long time.
“Tanzanians and I are the happiest today with the delivery of this state-of-the-art Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner bought using local financial resources,” said Magufuli adding that the plane was flown by Tanzanian pilots from for 18 hours non-stop from Seattle to Dar es Salaam.
“I have always been telling fellow Tanzanians that we can achieve wonders. Our country is rich. We have minerals,” said the president, challenging ATCL to work hard.
The delivery of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner brought to eight the number of new aircraft delivered to Tanzania since Magufuli took office in November 2015 and began reviving the loss-making ATCL.
Magufuli has personally taken charge of the revival of the state carrier, with his government spending hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing new planes.
Magufuli’s government hopes that a more efficient national airline will help boost tourism, the main foreign exchange earner in Tanzania’s economy.