TBY talks to Fadhili J. Manongi, Director General of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, on foreign-owned airlines, freedom of movement between states, and effective regulation.

Fadhili J. Manongi
Fadhili J. Manongi has worked with the TCAA since 2005. Previous to this, he was Director of Corporate Planning for the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd. He has been in the aviation sector since 1984, and has also worked as a macro-economist in the Republic of Palau, in addition to serving as an economist for the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Tanzania.

What are your agency's responsibilities in Tanzania?

The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) is an industry watchdog providing regulation and economic oversight for national civil aviation. At the same time, we are a service provider offering navigational services domestically, and also in Rwanda and Burundi, above 24,500 feet. This responsibility was given to us as both are very small countries, and it had proven to be inefficient for their pilots to constantly switch radio frequencies for navigational guidance. We, therefore, assumed the responsibility of providing a consistent service.

When we spoke with the Minister of Transport, he was extremely excited about Tanzania's newly robust and competitive airline industry. How has the TCAA used regulations to create that industry?

We have basically opened up to opportunity. Previously, we had just one airline—the government-owned Air Tanzania. However, we then decided that others interested in providing these services could do so, and in essence foreign investors are welcome in the sector. In fact, 100% foreign ownership is possible, as is any percentage that you agree on with a local partner, as long as your principal place of business is Tanzania, and you conform to all regulations. Basically, we found that a number of local investors lacked the financial capacity to conduct business alone, which was one of the main reasons why we opened up to foreign participation.

The TCAA provides navigational services for Rwanda and Burundi. What other ties is the company fostering to promote regional integration?

Within the common market and the framework of East African unity, we are now looking to liberalize the transport services that operate between us. Then, there is a project known as the Yamoussoukro Decision, signed by African transport ministers and heads of state to bring about freedom of movement among participating countries.

What growth trends do you expect over the coming years?

Even during the global financial crisis, our growth never fell below 8%, which I expect to continue. If the economy is going to grow—and with everything that is happening that is all but certain—then there will be a growth in industry. The growth of industry is linked to GDP growth, and growth in the aviation industry is nearly always double that of GDP.

What are some of your successes in this market?

The number of aircraft and operators is constantly on the rise in Tanzania, but so too is the variety of aircraft that we cater for. In addition, we have just been successfully audited. When a company becomes blacklisted, it faces a number of serious problems. That is why our highly regulated industry makes for an extremely safe mode of transportation. The regulators check everything, right down to the facilities where our aircraft are serviced. We demonstrate that every aspect of our operations functions correctly. We have also held ISO certification since 2010. Finally, I would like to mention our successful aviation training school that serves students from South Africa, Namibia, Uganda, and even West Africa. This is not only a profit-making entity, but can also diversify its activities to encompass pilot training and engineering.