LONDON – Air Tanzania has become the first African carrier to take delivery of the Airbus A220-300. Representatives of the airline and officials from the United Republic of Tanzania, together with executives from the A220 program, were all present for the handover at the Mirabel assembly line.

The aircraft order was signed in December 2016, where Bombardier and the Government of Tanzania signed a purchase agreement for two CS300 jetliners and two Q400s turboprops, to be leased to and operated by Air Tanzania. The deal was valued approximately $200 million.

Air Tanzania also becomes the latest member of Airbus aircraft operators, and the fifth airline, after Swiss, Air Baltic, Korean Air, and Delta to take delivery of the former Bombardier CSeries aircraft.

“The A220 unrivaled passenger comfort combined with its remarkable performance and economics will be an excellent asset to further develop Air Tanzania’s network,” said Tito Kasambala, Acting CEO, Tanzanian Government Flight Agency (TGFA).

The A220 will allow Air Tanzania to further develop its domestic and regional market as well as open new routes to India and the Middle East from its home base Dar es Salaam.

“With the addition of the A220 in our fleet, we are confident that we will expand our footprint in the growing African markets and beyond, as we unlock additional routes and regain our position as a key player in the African air transport market,” added Ladislaus Matindi, Managing Director & CEO, Air Tanzania Company Limited.

“After Europe, Asia and America, we are proud to see the A220 fly now also on the African continent and in Air Tanzania’s livery. With over 240 Airbus aircraft flying in Africa and a large network of flight service offices in the region, we are ready to contribute to the airline’s success,” said Philippe Balducchi, CEO of the A220 partnership.

Bombardier Q400, deHavilland Canada dash-8-400, Q400, ]Air Tanzania, Andrew Cline

The new jet will join a small fleet of five other aircraft, composed of four De Havilland Canada DHC-8-300/400 aircraft, and one Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, delivered to the African carrier in July 2018.

The airline’s first Q400 turboprop was delivered straight from Canada earlier in April, starting a fleet renewal program that has seen the arrival of three aircraft types in the span of only eight months.

Together with Nigeria’s Green Africa Airways order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, it is a big day for African aviation, as Air Tanzania has become the launch operator of the Airbus A220 in the continent.