Air Tanzania, the Tanzanian flag carrier, is eagerly waiting for the delivery of its new Boeing 767-300F freighter by the end of March.
However, the delivery of the aircraft could be delayed, because a new supplier problem has stymied deliveries of Boeing’s 767 freighter and KC-46 tanker and Boeing has not delivered any 767-based jets in 2023.
In a statement earlier this month, Boeing acknowledged a “quality issue” had forced the company to rework 767Fs and KC-46s before delivery, but said it had not changed its delivery plans for the year, reports Reuters.
The delay is due to a quality issue with the coating on fuel tanks, which can flake off and block fuel filters, causing fuel starvation – a common cause of aviation accidents.
Boeing’s Fuel Tank Issue
According to The Air Current, Boeing’s supplier for the centre wing tanks, Daher, switched from Triumph Group to Daher in 2021 and had not performed relevant tests on the coating. More than 12 aircraft in Boeing’s inventory, including 58 767-based KC-46 air-to-air refuelling tanker aircraft, could be affected, impacting aircraft deliveries.
Boeing has yet to deliver any of the 100 Boeing 767s currently on order, including 27 for FedEx and 27 for UPS, as well as 58 refuelling tanker aircraft for the US Air Force.
Boeing’s Efforts to Address the Issue
While Boeing has not provided a timeline for resolving the issue, the company has stated that it is working with its supplier, regulator, and customers to address the problem.
This situation may be a cause of concern for many airlines, including Air Tanzania, which has already been facing operational challenges due to technical problems with its other aircraft.
Air Tanzania’s Fleet Issues
Air Tanzania currently has 12 passenger aircraft, including four A220-300s, two B787-8s, one DHC-8-Q300, and five DHC-8-Q400s. However, only eight aircraft in the fleet are currently functional, with two A220-300s grounded due to technical problems with the Pratt & Whitney PW1524G-3 engines. One A220-300 is in service after the engine manufacturer provided replacement power plants in December.
The Importance of the B767-300F for Air Tanzania
Air Tanzania’s Managing Director, Ladislaus Matindi, said the delivery of the B767-300F would vastly improve the airline’s cargo capacity as several of its aircraft are currently grounded for various reasons. The addition of the freighter would be a significant boost for the airline’s operations, which have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline has been operating at a reduced capacity, and the arrival of the new aircraft would provide a much-needed boost.
The airline’s management has not provided any information on whether they expect the aircraft to arrive on time, leaving many to speculate on the matter. Boeing’s efforts to address the fuel tank issue are ongoing, and airlines like Air Tanzania will have to wait for a resolution before receiving their much-awaited aircraft.