Dar es Salaam. Some 600 people at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport risk losing their jobs if the Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) sticks to its recent decision, according to the Tanzania Air Operators Association (Taoa).

On September 14, 2022, ZAA’s Managing Director issued a directive which granted Dnata Zanzibar Aviation Services Limited exclusive access to the newly constructed Terminal III, excluding other operators.

According to the notice, Dnata will be the exclusive provider of ground handling and management of Marhaba lounge services from December 1, 2022.

Deep consequences

According to Taoa, this should have far-reaching consequences as other operators will not be able to survive due to the low volume of business.

“This could result in other operators collapsing and 600 employees losing their jobs in the process,” Taoa said in a statement released to media on Tuesday.

ZAA’s decision, Taoa said, could draw a negative inference and could impact long-term investor confidence.

“We are concerned about the security of our members’ investment as a result of ZAA’s non-compliance with the laws,” Taoa charged.

He added, “Although the association welcomes investors, competition and Dnata as an investor, alike, due process must be followed without favouritism.”

The statement further states, “ZAA should not ignore local and foreign investors who have invested heavily and worked closely with the authority even when infrastructure has been poor for the past 20 years.”

The ZAA decision goes against the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) Board Decision No. 01 of 2022 which prohibits, among others, monopoly, price cap and terminal segregation .

Taoa understands that the recruitment of Dnata was done without publishing any invitation to tender for the purchase of these services.

The Association noted that the notice violated applicable procurement regulations and applicable ground handling procedures and regulations.

The Civil Aviation Regulation 20 (Groundhandling Services) of 2012 requires that the procedures for selecting groundhandling providers adhere to the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and international competitive bidding.

“Amazingly, in Dnata’s recruitment process, there was no public bidding for all stakeholders to participate equally. The monopolistic environment is not an ideal scenario for airlines, passengers and a healthy aviation industry,” the Taoa statement read.

The statement further adds, “By engaging Dnata without an open bidding process, ZAA not only sets a dangerous precedent in the aviation industry, but also hampers the country’s efforts to attract international investors.”

This means that ZAA’s decision to grant an exclusive right to Dnata goes against established international best practices in these services.

The ZAA notice, according to Taoa, appears to be in direct violation not only of the mandate it received from the TCAA, but also of fair competition laws that discourage monopolistic practices.

“Today it is ZAA and AAKIA, tomorrow it will be Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) with Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) and Kilimanjaro International Airport (Kia),” Taoa warned.

Taoa urged TCAA to intervene and order ZAA to reconsider its directive, given the immense impact it has on the rule of law, local and international air operators, ground handling services and passengers. the airport.

Renowned aviation expert Juma Fimbo advised ZAA to go back to the drawing board to tackle the saga.

“As part of realizing the good intention of making Zanzibar Airport world class in terms of services, ended up neglecting certain legal and procedural principles outlined in the granting of the airport concession,” Mr. Fimbo said.

He added: “The government made a mistake, what is needed is damage control by reconsidering their decision.”

Mr. Jimray Nangawe, an aviation expert, said business monopoly should not be considered.

However, he challenged current operators to find a way to join forces to become strong enough to offer services at other airports.

Mr John Chambo, an aviation expert, said: “If we are not to damage the reputation of the aviation industry, established procedures must be followed.”

Adding: “If procedures have been breached for the good of the flying public, the authorities concerned should explain themselves.”

Efforts to get comment from the ZAA and TCAA proved fruitless.