Details Emerge About Air Tanzania’s Fascinating New 787

There are a lot of plane deliveries this year that I’m excited about, like Oman Air’s 787 with first class, Gulf Air’s 787, Singapore Airlines’ 787-10, and Singapore Airlines’ A350-900ULR, just to name a few.

However, to me there’s one aircraft order that stands out, that I’ve been tracking closely and have been very curious about for a variety of reasons. Specifically, Air Tanzania is scheduled to take delivery of a single Boeing 787 this summer. That might not seem that weird to someone not familiar with the airline, but this is an airline that otherwise has just four turboprops in their fleet. Going from a turboprop to a Boeing 787 is quite a significant move.

Equally fascinating is that they have exactly one 787 on order. That’s a small fleet if I’ve ever seen one. Originally the airline was supposed to take delivery of the plane in June, though the latest I’ve heard suggests that the airline will take delivery of the plane in July, which is still potentially only several weeks away. Despite that, the airline has revealed nothing about the new plane until now, including the routes it will operate, as well as what the interior will look like.

We now have a bit of a clue at least. Air Tanzania’s websiteĀ has a rotating banner with all kinds of ads. Among them is how they offer “inflight endless refreshments” and “non-perishable tickets.”

If you wait a bit you’ll eventually be brought to a banner indicating that Air Tanzania intends to fly the 787 to Mumbai soon.

We still don’t know anything about when they plan to launch this route or what the plane will look like, though you can bet I’ll be flying with them shortly after the route launches, no matter the details.

I find Mumbai to be a surprising choice for the 787. That route is ~2,900 miles, so could have just as easily been flown with a 737, which sure makes you wonder why they decided to get a 787. I was expecting they’d fly the 787 to the UK or China.

Interestingly the airline has also placed an order for two Bombardier CS300 aircraft, which could also eventually operate the Mumbai route. So I’m not sure if the plan is to only temporarily operate the 787 to Mumbai and then later put a CS300 on the route, or what. That seems like an odd strategy, given that the airline plans to take delivery of the planes around the same time.

Also, while I trust this is all more legitimate than Air Zimbabwe, there are still questions about how the government plans to finance these planes. When the airline took delivery of their last couple of turboprops recently there were some delays, leading some to speculate that the government didn’t have the money for the planes, and needed some time. Taking delivery of one Boeing 787 and two CS300s around the same time isn’t cheap.

Personally I’d be quite surprised (and very impressed) if the airline somehow had all three of these planes in their fleet by July.

Am I the only one who is excited about these new Air Tanzania planes? šŸ˜‰

(Tip of the hat to @jznewby)

Comments

  1. Having been to Tanzania recently – there is a large contingent of Indian travelers who are there for Safari. My wife and I stayed at the Four Seasons Serengeti during our trip and half of the food available every day during breakfast or dinner was Indian. I think they know where their bread is buttered.

  2. Lucky, I think it is great that you take so many unusaual and off-the-beaten-track flights these days! Very interesting to read about that. Already looking forward to this trip report.

  3. “Am I the only one who is excited about these new Air Tanzania planes? ”

    Yeah, probably. I’ll be happy to read about your adventures, though.

  4. Well… there are many East Africans of Indian descent (especially Gujaratis, originally from close to Mumbai) who are powerful in running the local economy. So it quite makes sense that they are utilizing their largest fleet to Mumbai.

  5. Took the family on safari last summer. Agreed with Rob that there is a large proportion of Indian travelers. I would wait til the new airport is finished in October before going. Current one is horrible. And if connecting to or coming from a Tanzanian domestic flight, have at least a 6 hour window. Nothing runs on time there.

  6. Biman Bangladesh too is taking delivery of B787s starting August. The interior has been revealed in a Bengali news paper(Prothom Alo). The 787s are being fitted with Stelia Equinox3D seats in Business and Weber seats in Economy.

  7. Don’t tell me that you are going to fly with Air Tanzania just because they fly 787 to Mumbai!?! Just like your post about Dallas between Cancun on AA 787!

  8. In addition to Indian tourists there is a large local population of Indian heritage living in Dar-Zanzibar, Kenya, and Uganda.

  9. “Personally Iā€™d be quite surprised (and very impressed) if the airline somehow had all three of these planes in their fleet by July.”

    Having the planes in their fleet wouldn’t be that impressive. Anyone can do that with a little blue smoke and mirrors – think of Baltia. Having the planes in the air – now THAT would be impressive!

  10. Are they really down to 4 turboprops? They used to have B 737s (several) which they flew, among other routes, from Dar Es Salaam to Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Nairobi, Mombasa, Entebbe and Lusaka. You could know when the flight had overnighted in Zanzibar, it reeked of cloves.

    If accurate, one more demise of an African airline with delusions of Grandeur.

  11. Itā€™s in poor taste to postulate if one is ill informed – unless of course the Iā€™ll informed part is a surprise Do you know how important the India Tanzania trade corridor is? Well, far more than the China, UK – Tanzania one for a start. Add to that the Indian origin populace in Tanzania and this is more of a no- brainer than a head scratcher. Now, bread choices – weā€™ll thats familiar terrain.

  12. I doubt they will be able to fly this route with the CS300. As far as I can tell the only plane with an ETOPS certification is on the recently delivered to Korean and that is only for 60 minutes.

  13. As other commenters said Tanzania and east Africa have a large Indian population.

    Kenya airways has been flying to Mumbai for a long time and RwandAir has just launched a flight to Mumbai. Currently the bombardiars fly domestically (with the exception of a flight to the comoros). One of the new bombaradiars they plan on fly to other east African cities (Nairobi, Entebbe, and Kigali) my assumption is to help pick up passengers to connect on their Mumbai route?

    Sure there are plenty of travelers to and from India and East Africa. But will there be to much competition?

    I fly Air Tanzania domestically quite a bit and since the airline has resurrected I really enjoy it. On time, comfortable, and fairy priced.

  14. Please let them take delivery in an all economy configuration and then we can hold you to your ā€œiā€™ll Be flying it whateverā€ comment!

  15. I was in Tanzania earlier this year, and there is a huge Indian population. Almost every travel agency and supermarket in Tanzania is run by Indian people. It is said that Indian presence in South and Eastern part of Africa is over centuries.

  16. I’m guessing the Mumbai route is just for crew training and to familiarise themselves with the aircraft and to prepare for the cseries doing the route.

  17. Dr , I understand there is a sizable Indian population in east Africa, however to see Tanzania — India trade is much more large than with China is simply wrong.

    India does import more from Tanzania than China does , mostly because of gold. But if you sum up trade in both direction, then China is leading India by a large margin, almost doubles.

  18. A lot of students come to India from Tanzania for higher education as its cheaper not to forget seen dozens of Tanzanian patients in Bangalore hospitals,

  19. The second reason besides large Indian population and expected traffic in TZ is that they may or may not be able to fly to london or Beijing daily with just 1 787 but they can certainly do so with Mumbai.

    Also tip of the hat to ā€˜Drā€™ for the phenomenally hilarious comment lol.

  20. I might be flying on their Q400s in July so hopefully I see their 787. It better be delivered by the 4th

  21. AFAIK this is the first flight on any airline from DAR to BOM or even from Tanzania to India. That seems strange if the other comments are true that there is a large Indian population in Tanzania. Perhaps there is some complicated politics at work here that you are unaware of.

    AeroMexico uses their fleet of B787s to fly from Mexico city to Europe, Asia, and the large airports in the Southern Cone which can’t be reached on their B737s. But they also fly a B787 to NYC (1816 nmi) at least once a day. Presumably their 32 business class seats on a B787 sell better than 16 business class seats per B737 since this has to be their most important short haul business routes. So you have to look at the premium seat market from BOM-DAR as well as how well that can be served with CS300. Of course if there was a premium seat market you would assume that there would be a nonstop before now.

  22. I think you got your answer Ben. The India Africa corridor is hugely underserved. There is huge diaspora of Indian/ People of Indian origin living in Africa. Once upon a time Air India operated flights to Nairobi, Durban, Johannesburg, Dar es salaam, Lagos, Cairo amongst others. Today no direct flts between BOM& DAr es salaam. People have to route via Addis or Nairobi. BOM alone has daily flights from Kenya (2X), Ethiopian and Rawanda Air. The Africa Diaspora in India is also growing. India and Africa have deep connections and so putting a flagship aircraft on the India route would make sense culturally and financially.

  23. I watched an interesting You Tube blog by an Indian from India , about Dar-es-salaam tourism . He was basically saying how nice Tanzania is for Indian tourists , especially the food as lots of Indian restaurants . He also said Dar is cleaner and safer than Kenya !!
    So other readers comments are correct , popular destination for Indians .
    I was raised in Tanzania and Kenya , so I speak Swahili and understand the culture and basically ,I can tell you that Tanzanians want to be their own masters after some years of socialism that held back the economy. They are now developing on their own and do not want Kenya involved .
    They are a different people ( mostly different tribes to Kenya) , much nicer generally and
    I am thinking of a holiday there .

  24. Frank Martin…I do not think they are looking at the premium seat market in India. I think it it the low spending Indian tourist who has never been to Africa who wants a cheap and cheerful direct fight . I believe Tanzanai Air can provide it , perhaps package tours as well ? Tanzania is being promoted in India already .
    Lots of hotels in Tanzania are owned by Tanzanian Indians so they can offer a cultural welcome /food etc to Indian visitors

  25. your euphoria for this new airline is not been received well ! I do not know about the others, but it is too early to be euphoric to another no name African airline and receive a TAAG experience!
    Yes, another new airline, another adventure.. but at this moment, I am sick and traumatized to read your awful experience in a premium class from such kinds of airlines..the TAAG F and MU F experiences just made me realize how good the conventional First Class of Air France and Lufthansa are. Those reviews made me choose the ones I know already and can rely on to have a great consistant service and stop trying new unknow ones for a while..definitely do not need dramas and audacious crew to tell me what to do and how to behave..they should focus on service in which they are paid for in the first place!!

  26. I flew Oman Air (new) 787 last week from MCT-BKK, then on the return BKK-MCT, then another one to my final destination to JED. What a huge difference considering two weeks ago my flight from JED-MCT was on a 737 which signs of aging written all over it.

  27. Despite the errors in the article your overall point is a good one. They could have purchased several other planes for a lot less money that would perform as well or better when factoring in purchase price.

    Used 767 comes to mind.

  28. I have news for you Lucky! I just visited the Boeing factory in Everett WA today, and in the 787 bay we saw tje beautiful Air Tanzania 787. It was in final assembly and systems check stage, and had a gorgeous giraffe painted on the tail (fuselage was still not painted witg livery). It looked like it will be finalised in the very near futute including test flights, with (guestimation) delivery in a month or so.

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