Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Government loses billions of shillings for lack of surveillance radars

TANZANIA misses out 18bn/- each year from international airlines using the country’s skyline due to lack of surveillance radars to guide them, Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Engineer Edwin Ngonyani, revealed on Tuesday this week. “International airlines flying over our skyline are supposed to pay charges but this is not the case since we do not have the radars,” Eng. Ngonyani disclosed when officiating at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) stakeholders’ forum in Dar es Salaam. Adding, “Our counterparts in Kenya and Uganda are now utilizing the opportunity since they have capacities to guide airlines in Tanzania’s airborne.” The country requires four surveillance radars to have full coverage of the airborne but the one currently operating is obsolete. It is on this backdrop that the government has placed orders to purchase two radars at a total cost of US $24 million for installation at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) and Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). “During the current financial year the government will procure two radars and additional two radars will be acquired in the next fiscal year which will be fixed at Songwe International Airport in Mbeya and Mwanza Airport,” Eng. Ngonyani explained. According to the Deputy Minister, each of the radars will cost US $12 million dollars and are expected to be delivered in 18 months after the order has been placed. For his part, the Director General of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), Mr Hamza Johari, said a task force has been formed to work on procurement of the radars. “We are still consulting International Civil Aviation Authority Organization (ICAO) to provide us with specifications for the equipment,” Mr Johari told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting. The DG said the equipment would boost revenues as well as efficiency and safety in the aviation industry in the country. The IATA stakeholders’ forum brings together member airlines from Africa to discuss and propose solutions to challenges facing the aviation industry in the continent. The Deputy Minister went on to assure delegates at the meeting that the government of Tanzania was committed to revive Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) and restoring its membership with IATA. Privately owned Precision Air is the only member airline of IATA in Tanzania following suspension of Tanzania in the past on concerns of safety of its fleet of aircraft. Eng. Ngonyani stressed that the revival of ATCL and eventual restoration of its membership with IATA was among priorities of the government.

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