By Paul Owere, thecitizen.co.tz
Unguja. The Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) is set to conduct an audit on ground handling companies that currently operate at the Abeid Amani Karume Airport with effect from Monday.
In a letter dated October 19, the authority informed the ground handlers of its intentions to conduct the audit and the companies were invited to the pre-audit meeting last Friday, The Citizen has learnt.
“As part of the implementation of the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (AAKIA) safety management and in order to comply with the Tanzania Aviation Authority regulations and ICAO document 9981, PANS Aerodromes, ZAA shall require and ensure that all organisations performing activities at the aerodrome comply with the established safety requirements,” reads the letter.
It adds: Based on the regulations above at least one audit per year shall be carried out in compliance with the existing concession agreement.
The regulator also said the audit was going to be conducted by an independent ICAO/ACI certified auditor.
The week-long audit is set to include Transworld, ZAT and the newcomer Dnata Zanzibar who were licensed in June plus exclusive rights to manage Terminal 3 building by ZAA.
This, according to available records, will be the first time that the authority conducts such an audit since it was formed, and it comes at a time when the authority has just announced record earnings in the first quarter of the 2022-23 fiscal year.
ZAA on Friday October 21, announced they had collected record revenue of Sh6.7 billion in the first quarter of 2022- 23 fiscal year beating the previous years since the authority was formed in the period under review .
Past audits that ensured that ground handlers performed optimally were carried out by individual airlines before signing and renewal of contracts, plus periodically by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA).
Pundits, however, question the rationale of auditing companies that are likely to shut down in a month’s time following the September 14 directive that granted exclusive rights to the newly formed Dnata Zanzibar.
“As you are aware all International Airlines will be obliged to operate through the new Terminal III building which is principally under one ground handler. This means that the others will have to shut down given the low volumes of domestic flights that will operate in Terminal 2 after they are forced out,” says a former minister who preferred anonymity.
He questioned whether the audit has been prompted by any complaints from the airlines served by the companies.
“If you have not done it before in over a decade, what is your motivation of doing it now? Have the airlines complained about services offered?” he questions
The two companies ZAT and Transworld currently operate all the international flights that fly into the Abeid Aman Karume International Airport.
Airlines that fly into the AAKIA, Zanzibar include Etihad, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, Lot polish, Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Tui and Ethiopian Airlines.
Others are Kenya Airways, Air France, KLM, Edelweiss, and Eurowings with ZAA saying that they have received more applications from carriers who intend to ply the Zanzibar route in the near future.