Africa, Analysis

New Dreamliner Aircraft: Tanzania’s Day Dream to Success

Tanzania and International media outlets reported on arrival of a new aircraft of Boeing 787 Dream liner for Air Tanzania at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es salaam on 08/07/2018. The reception was made with a great joy, pride and boasting

This aircraft is part of Air Tanzania`s plan to grow its operations across Africa as well as to international destinations. “The purchase of the 262 passenger capacity plane brings to four the number of brand new aircraft that have been bought by the government in the efforts to revive the national airline” (Xinhua, 09/07/2018)


The fundamental question of how will the flight operation bring profit has not been addressed. How will it surpass its competitors – the giants like Fly Emirates, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airways, etc of which are operating on the same routes ATCL is expecting. Tomas Chlumecky, the aviation expert said: “…B787 sits on the ground it costs USD 30,000 and when flies it costs around USD 13,000 per flight hour, it needs to fly +4000 hours per year which means it needs to generate USD +62.8M in revenue..”

While other Airlines are suspending their routes to Dar es Salaam, it would have been wiser to learn their cause instead of rushing on wasting public revenue: “Etihad Airways will suspend flights from Abu Dhabi to Dar es Salaam, effective October 1, 2018…..this is part of strategic review that involves scrapping unprofitable routes.” (The Citizen, 19/06/2018).

This emphasis is only the sense of pride and ego instead of economic basis underpinned the whole process of aircraft purchase.

This tells lack of prioritization based on public needs. While about 75% Tanzanians depends on agriculture for survival and agricultural sector development has fallen from 3.2% in 2015 to 1.3% in 2017, it doesn’t make sense spending USD 224.6M on sector that is used by 5% or below 10% of the population of which its benefit is still a day dream.

Furthermore, Air Tanzania (ATCL) has never been profitable since its formation in 1977-that is 41 years in a row. It is highly indebted to the extent of being suspended from IATA, so it contracted HAHN Air for its international ticket sales (Global Publisher 12/04/2018).

It is expected from this drama that ATCL will generate new debts from losses and international partners payments, and in turn severe debts to the country and more taxes to the poor.

In fact Dream liner purchase of USD 224.6M from America’s Boeing insists on colonial market economy strategy. Poor countries are made capitalists markets regardless of their ability to purchase and profit consideration.

From Islamic point of view and under its Islamic Khilafah state it is not allowed to spend public resources on non-basic needs while basic needs have not been met. Such matters like purchasing an aircraft are not met unless there are sufficient funds for that and basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, education and health have been met. This is contrary to capitalist governments of which Tanzania is of no exception, that spend on luxurious needs whilst there are severe social, political, and economic problems that people face.


Said Bitomwa

Member of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Tanzania