Safari Plus has launched as Tanzania’s newest airline in an effort to increase tourist travel, but the event has also led to government efforts to cut through red tape in an attempt to encourage the establishment of more local airlines.
Safari Plus was officially launched during a ceremony on Saturday. The medium-sized domestic airline is based in Dar es Salaam and owned by ASB Developments, the parent company of Kempinski Hotels in Tanzania. The airline will be used to fly the most popular destinations in the country, including Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Zanzibar and the Serengeti.
ASB Developments invested US$7 million in Safari Plus, acquiring two 19-seat Beechcraft King Air twin turboprops with pressurised cabins for high altitude flight. They will run scheduled services throughout the week except on Thursdays and Saturdays.
The airline’s launch was attended by Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Athumani Mfutakamba, who pledged to get remove red tape in his ministry in an effort to attract more airlines in the country to boost the tourism sector and the national economy, Tanzania Daily News reports.
“After the launching of this airline, I will talk to the agencies under my ministry to quicken the issuing of licences for companies such that we have more airlines operating in the country,” Mfutakamba promised.
Safari Plus Business Development Manager, Lauriano Balilemwa, said the airline was positioned to be value driven, and would target tourists, businesspeople and individuals.
“Safari Plus will be the first airline in Tanzania providing medium sized aircraft to the Serengeti. We can now look forward to more presidential retreats in Serengeti at the Bilila Lodge Kempinski, the country’s unofficial Camp David,” he said.
Tanzania’s The Citizen notes that ASB has invested approximately US$150 million in Tanzania over the last six years, most notably in luxury hotels and lodges. Its decision to invest in Safari Plus is designed to facilitate tourist travel in Tanzania.
“Getting to one’s destination directly in the shortest possible time, say to the Serengeti, is unavailable in the local market. This is a vacuum in the domestic market which the owners wish to capitalize on,” Balilemwa said.