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Tanzania: Czech plane maker plans to set up manufacturing base in Tanzania

Skyleader, a Czech aircraft manufacturer, plans to establish its African manufacturing base in Tanzania, The Citizen can explain.

A credible source with knowledge told this paper yesterday that the firm is in final discussions with Tanzania to establish the ultralight aircraft Skyleader 500 manufacturing plant in the country.

“The investor has shown interest in establishing its base in coastal areas. In this case, the company is likely to set its plant in Mtwara Region,” revealed the source.

Skyleader is a Czech aircraft manufacturer specialising in the design and manufacture of ultralight aircraft in the form of ready-to-fly aircraft in the Federations Aéronautique Internationale microlight and American light-sport aircraft categories.

Aviation experts who spoke to this paper yesterday welcomed the move, saying it would be a catalyst for taking the aviation industry to the apex.

An aviation expert with about 48 years of experience John Njawa said: “If what they produce comply with the international requirement, it will act as the catalyst for the aviation industry’s growth.”

Further, Mr Njawa, who is the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA)’s safety regulation ex-director added, it would create job opportunities.

He explained that the kind of aircraft that Skyleader produces would be good in surveillance in agricultural, mapping, anti-poaching, training and the sort.

“The very small aircraft and very limited in capabilities could be useful for training, survey, mapping, animal census, traffic control, emergencies and organ transplants transportation,” noted Mr Njawa.

His sentiments were echoed by another aviation expert with 23 years of experience, Mr Jimray Nangawe, saying setting the manufacturing plant here would promote job creation and transfer of technology.

This, he said, would pose a challenge to Tanzania to start conducting aircraft certification—-a means by which aviation authorities indicate that a product or modification to a product is approved.

“Currently, we just do the type acceptance because we have not developed a capacity to do certification,” said Mr Nangawe, the former Precision Air network planning and strategy manager

However, he cautioned that the country needed to be keen on business negotiation so that it could get the shares of benefits it deserves.

In his twitter account, facilitator and conservator Abuu Amani termed the Skyleader’s move as a very constructive decision.

Good policy and political system in Tanzania, he said, might provide a better chance for Skyleader to win the market.

“I hope Skyleader may gain a large market in the EAC (East African Community) as well as Western part of Africa,” Mr Amani exuded his optimism.

Original story on The Citizen

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