You Might See an Elephant Fly…….
When any airline receives delivery of a new aircraft it’s an exciting time; but when you are a very small airline ranked at 474th in capacity terms according to the CAPA database and you receive a new B787 fresh from the showroom it is a huge deal.
One of the key decisions is where do you fly that asset? Do you upgrade the product on an existing service? Do you start a new route that has always been on the radar but just out of range? Or do you do something completely out of the box?
Well Air Tanzania have clearly just finished some out of the box thinking and will be using their new B787 to launch a Mumbai service. This isn’t a route operated by any other carrier and the indirect traffic numbers for the city pair add up to around 40,000 per annum with Ethiopian and Emirates sweeping up the majority of demand.
Perhaps a low frequency service to Europe with a through flight to South Africa attracting tourism and leisure travellers may have made more sense and has in the past been a classic way to start long-haul services for small African airlines with aspirations.
Air Tanzania also aspire to serve China and that does seem to have more opportunity. Soon to be the largest market in the world, increasing outbound travel from China and a keen interest in travel experiences could work. But, and it is a huge but, Chinese travellers prefer Chinese Airlines and although they currently do not serve Tanzania they serve the region.
There may be something in Mumbai but it seems a bold, brave and certainly out of the box piece of network planning. And against that backdrop, perhaps we are about to see an elephant fly!!