South African authorities have impounded a Tanzanian airplane in Johannesburg. The aircraft, an Airbus 220-300 is leased by Tanzania’s national carrier, Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL).
The plane was scheduled to fly from the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Friday before it was seized.
“The plane was impounded following an order issued by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg,” Tanzania’s transport ministry said in a statement on Friday.
It was not immediately clear why the plane was seized and the South African government is yet to comment as at Saturday morning.
According to Reuters, President John Magufuli has personally taken charge of the revival of loss-making state carrier Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), spending hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing eight new planes since 2016.
“I can confirm that the impounded plane is an Airbus. The government has more details on why the plane was seized,” ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi told Reuters.
“We have made arrangements for the passengers to board on another plane to resume their flight.”
Tanzania has pinned hopes on the revival of the national airline to turn the country into a regional transport hub and boost the tourism sector, its biggest foreign exchange earner.
In 2017 a Canadian construction firm, Stirling Civil Engineering Ltd, seized one of Tanzania’s new Q400 turbo-prop planes in Canada over a $38 million lawsuit, before it had been delivered.
Stirling’s claim stemmed from a 2010 compensation ruling by the International Court of Arbitration, a court of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), over a road contract that was terminated before Magufuli became president.
The Q400 was released in March 2018 after Magufuli sent the country’s prime minister and attorney general to Canada to negotiate it’s release.