Speculation is growing over the fate of Air Tanzania's aging Bombardier Q300 aircraft which maintenance input has been growing almost correspondingly with age and use.
While the aircraft, MSN 474 only joined the ATCL fleet in 2008 under registration 5H-MWF is the plane nevertheless now 20 years old and maintaining continued airworthiness is becoming a challenge due to the downtimes this causes.
Initially operated by Air Pelangi did the aircraft then make its way across the world and flew for such airlines as Brymon Airways, British Airways City Express, BA Connect and FlyBe before in February 2008, i.e. 9 years ago ending up on the Tanzanian registry for Air Tanzania.
The aircraft did suffer one mishap while being operated by Air Tanzania, namely a cracked windscreen not long after takeoff from Kigoma to Dar es Salaam (TC119) in January 2012 but at the time did the plane return safely to Kigoma before being repaired and returned into service.
Last year Air Tanzania received two brand new Bombardier Q400NextGen's and a third is on order and due for delivery this year, as are incidentally two Bombardier CS300's, the first such planes sold to an African airline as reported here at the time.
If suggestions by the same source from Dar es Salaam of accurate previous news are correct will Air Tanzania very likely dispose of the aged Q300 aircraft and acquire a fourth brand new Bombardier Q400NextGen instead, further boosting dispatch reliability and also increasing seat capacity on the turboprop fleet.
Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from the wider Eastern African region.