Amidst the gradual recovery of air transport services from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant breakthrough has been achieved in rejuvenating the aviation industry.
In a recent bilateral summit held in a serene location in Moscow, experts from the Governments of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Russian Federation convened with a shared mission to negotiate a new and transformative Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between the two nations. Recognising the adverse effects of the pandemic on the previous agreements, both delegations were eager to forge a path towards revitalising air travel between their countries.
The negotiations proved to be fruitful, resulting in remarkable enhancements to the existing BASA. A pivotal aspect of this development was expanding entry points for the designated airlines. Tanzanian Airlines secured access to Moscow and two other major Russian cities, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. This marked a momentous stride forward from the previous BASA, which limited entry to Moscow alone. Similarly, Russian airlines gained the privilege of landing at Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro airports, in addition to Dar es Salaam, significantly improving their connectivity in Tanzania.
Another groundbreaking addition to the agreement was the introduction of Code Sharing Provisions, which underscored the vital role of collaboration among airlines in today’s ever-evolving aviation landscape. Code sharing was embraced as a means to optimize airline yields, and its absence in the previous BASA was effectively addressed to encourage innovative business strategies for airlines.
Furthermore, the negotiations delved into discussions on Freedom Traffic Rights, a topic of growing importance in modern aviation. Both delegations acknowledged the need for extending beyond the traditional third and fourth freedoms to maximize aviation potentials. Under the new agreement, designated airlines from Tanzania and Russia were granted the opportunity to operate flights to a third country with fifth freedom traffic rights, subject to mutual agreement by the aeronautical authorities of the concerned nations.
Throughout the talks, the expert teams demonstrated a spirit of collaboration, with occasional disagreements being settled amicably through consensus-seeking approaches. Each party ardently advocated for their government’s interests, leading to some intense debates, notably regarding the proposal for designated airlines to file fares for approval before commencing operations. Russia proposed this requirement, but Tanzania contended that fixed fares were impractical in the current liberalized business environment. Nevertheless, both sides reached a compromise, finding a middle ground that was acceptable to both nations.
The culmination of the negotiations was marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Heads of Delegation from both countries, symbolizing their commitment to implementing the agreements reached during the summit. The finalization of the BASA will follow after the completion of necessary institutional procedures by the respective Governments.
The Tanzanian delegation, led by Mr. Biseko Chiganga from the Ministry of Works and Transport, comprised experts from various government bodies and aviation authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, the Office of the Attorney General, as well as representatives from prominent Tanzanian airlines and aviation entities.
Overall, the collaborative efforts of the expert teams from Tanzania and Russia have paved the way for a groundbreaking and mutually beneficial air services agreement between the two nations. This historic milestone promises increased connectivity and unprecedented opportunities for the aviation industry’s growth in the post-pandemic world, bringing a fresh wave of hope to airlines and travelers alike.