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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Etihad Airways eyes Tanzania’s airspace



United Arab Emirates-based Etihad Airways is eyeing Tanzanian airspace through its expansion program targeting the fast-growing tourism and business opportunities in Africa.


The airline will make its first landing at Julius Nyerere International Airport in December this year after years of business negotiation between Tanzanian aviation and tourism officials and the Etihad Airways executives.


Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will be flying daily from Abu Dhabi to Dar es Salaam after launching its schedule flights in December, officials from the Tanzania Airports Authority had confirmed.


The flights will be operated using Airbus A320 aircraft with 16 Business Class and 120 Economy Class seats.


Dar es Salaam will be Etihad Airways’ 110th destination globally, and the airline’s 11th destination in Africa and the Indian Ocean. The daily schedule will offer two-way connectivity over Etihad Airways’ hub in Abu Dhabi, with convenient onward connections to 45 popular destinations across the Middle East, Europe, the Indian Subcontinent, North and Southeast Asia, and Australasia.
Etihad Airways Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, Kevin Knight said the airline has planned to extend its wings to reach more African cities by the end of next year. Other African cities the airline is eyeing are Entebbe in Uganda and Algiers in Algeria to be covered in May and June.


Knight said during the just-ended World Route Development Forum Strategy Summit in Chicago that the airline will add a number of new non-stop routes including San Francisco and Dallas in the US between November and December this year.


Tanzania Airports Authority is constructing Terminal Three building at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam to create a capacity to handle six million passengers after its completion in October next year. The new terminal will have a feature which allows Airbus 320 to dock and get maintenance, airport officials said.


James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said Dar es Salaam is an important new route on Etihad Airways’ global network.


“The Dar es Salaam route builds upon our existing presence in Africa, and supports the close trading relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Tanzania,” Hogan said.


Tourism is the area of business attracting many airlines to land in Dar es Salaam and other Tanzanian international airports. Tanzania was last year named one of the world’s most sought destinations for leisure travelers.


A good record of international-class tourists fly to Tanzania every year  to visit premier attractions, mostly Mount Kilimanjaro, the wildlife-rich national parks of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and the spice island of Zanzibar.


Dar es Salaam provides a strategic gateway for the transportation of goods and commerce to the surrounding six land-locked countries of Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

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