[ACCI-CAVIE] Tanzania and France signed on February 23th 2023, a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (Basa), a move that is set to expand the air transport network and boost tourism and trade between the two nations.
Going by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with 100,371 arrivals in 2022, France brought in the second highest number of arrivals from outside the African continent, after the US, whose figures stood at 100,600.
The Basa, meant to attract more tourists, was signed by the Works and Transport minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa, on behalf of Tanzania and France’s minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attraction, Mr Olivier Becht.
Speaking here during the Basa signing ceremony at the Tanzania-European Union (EU) Business Forum, Prof Mbarawa said the signing of agreements with more countries presents Tanzania with a larger market to tap into with tourism offerings.
“This will also enhance trade and economic opportunities for the country across the globe,” said a soft-spoken Mbarawa.
Official data has it that the volume of trade between Tanzania and France stood at $81.1 million (about Sh186.5 billion) in 2021.
While Tanzania’s major exports to France are tobacco, beans, avocados, fish, cotton, vegetables, raw hides and skins, on the other hand, the country’s major imports from France are airplane spare parts, aircraft engines, industrial sugar, laboratory reagents, vaccines for veterinary medicine and animal feed machinery.
With the Basa agreement expected to support the country’s ambition to expand the reach of its airlines, it will facilitate the movement of people and cargo.
Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) acting director general Daniel Malanga said the next step after signing the Basa is for the Civil Aviation Authorities of Tanzania and France to coordinate the determination of the date of entry into force.
This, he added, will go in tandem with registering the Basa with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) and urging airlines from the two states to make use of this new Basa which is more liberal than the previous one.
Mr Malanga, who doubles as the Director of Economic Regulation at TCAA, said areas of interest that are included in the new Basa are opening Paris and Marseille for designated airlines of Tanzania as long-haul routes and long-haul cargo between the two countries. They also agreed to add Mayotte and Reunion destinations which are not in the list of entry points for the Tanzanian designated airlines in the old Basa, he added.
“The new Basa also provides a room for code-sharing arrangements between airlines from Tanzania and France and those from third countries,” noted Mr Malanga.
“We have increased the points of entry (airports) from two to three. In the current Basa there is also inclusion of provision on cargo service.”
Mr Becht, for his part, said the Basa signing will increase traffic in key airports and attract guests from France and other European countries.
Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) director general Mussa Mbura said as a fruit of good relations between Tanzania and France, Air France, the flag carrier of France is set to start its direct flight to Dar in May/June.
“We are ready to facilitate airlines flying to Tanzania. We have an enabling infrastructure. We have good ground handling companies,” said Mr Mbura.
The signing of Basa came after experts from the two countries met in June last year in Mayotte, a French administrative territory, to review the pact that was signed in 1978 in the belief that it had been overtaken by events.
By Alex Nelson Malanga & LB