By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Air Tanzania has announced a temporary suspension of some of its services because of the ongoing technical problems with the Pratt & Whitney engines on some of its Airbus A220s.
The East African airline does not have a target date by which it hopes to resolve this issue, so half of its A220 fleet remains grounded for the foreseeable future.
The airline alerted its customers of the looming service disruption in a public notice in which it said:
“To ensure continued to our customers, we shall reduce the number of flights to match aircraft availability. This decision is temporary as our technical teams work in accordance with recommendations by the manufacturer.”
The suspension affects all the airline’s PW1524G-3-powered A220s. The airline has four Airbus 220-300s in its fleet. Only two of them have been flying regularly this year.
One of the A220s, carrying the registration 5H-TCI, remains operational. On Friday, 11th November, it operated the flights between Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza (MWZ), between MWZ and DAR, between DAR and Kilimanjaro (JRO) and then onwards to Entebbe (EBB), then back from EBB to DAR via JRO, and lastly from DAR to Mbeya (MBI) and back.
The other A220s belonging to the airline are not in use at the moment, and two of them have barely been used this year at all.
Tail number 5H-TCH has been airborne just two times this whole year: it flew on 3rd January 2022 from Dar es Salaam (DAR) to Cairo (CAI) and then onwards from CAI to Maastricht (MST) the same day.
It has been in Maastricht ever since. Prior to that ferry flight, this A220 aircraft had its last scheduled passenger service on 23rd November 2021 when it flew from Moroni (HAH) to Dar es Salaam (DAR).
Meanwhile, aircraft 5H-TCL has not been flying since 5th November, when it operated a service from Mwanza (MWZ) to Dar es Salaam (DAR). Prior to that, it was regularly flying for Air Tanzania, but reports suggest that it has now been grounded. This makes it the third of the airline’s four A220s to be removed from regular service.
The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Ladislaus Matindi, confirmed that the A220s are facing technical issues with the powerplants. He also said that Air Tanzania does not have a timeline for when the issue is expected to be resolved, adding:
“We are still far down in the manufacturers’ queue for repairs. Until the engines are in the repair shop, we cannot know exactly when we shall get relief. And because this problem is not particular to Air Tanzania but applies to all operators of the GTF, there are not even enough spare engines to keep us going as the affected engines visit the repair shop.”
Air Tanzania’s A220s are, on average, just one year old.