Air Tanzania passengers stranded at JNIA

Hundred of passengers scheduled to travel by Air Tanzania flights have remained stranded in Dar es Salaam for about four days due to failure by pilots to report to work after their Christmas break, officials said.

The passengers were due to fly on December 27 from Dar es Salaam to The Comoros and other destinations but have remained at the country’s major airport, Julius Nyerere International Airport, due to lack of pilots to fly the aircrafts.

Angry passengers accused the carrier, state-owned Air Tanzania Corporation Limited, of treating them badly. According to reports on British Broadcasting Corporation, an Air Tanzania spokeswoman said the company did not know why the pilots had failed to turn up for work.

The pilots were off on Christmas Day and the next day and were expected back to work on Saturday. “We feel that there could be a problem because this is not a normal occurrence,” the spokesperson, Ms Lily Fungamtama, said.

“We apologise to all our passengers for the inconvenience and we have done all we can to book alternative flights so they can go back to their travel schedules,” she was quoted by BBC as apologising.

One passenger said she is no longer sure she can trust what the airline says “as it had often broken its promise about when the next flight would leave’’.

Passengers flying to the Tanzanian towns of Kigoma in the north-west and Mtwara in the south had been stranded, along with those heading for The Comoros.

The passengers, who include women and children, are being accommodated in small hotels in and around the city, she says.

Efforts by the ‘Daily News’ to contact Air Tanzania officials were futile as officials were said to be in a meeting since morning to evening.

The airline’s spokesperson declined any comment when our reporters finally got hold of her through a mobile phone number at about 3:30pm.

According to unconfirmed reports, the airline had organised for the passengers to leave at around 4pm on Tuesday using a different airline.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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