South Africa seizes Air Tanzania plane in Johannesburg

Air Tanzania aircraft
Image copyrightIKULU
A farmer claims the aircraft (not pictured) was seized because Tanzania’s government owes him $33m

South African authorities have seized a plane from Tanzania’s national carrier, the Tanzanian government said.

The Airbus 220-300 was due to fly from Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

It was not immediately clear why the action was taken, and South African authorities have not commented.

But a retired farmer has said the aircraft was impounded because Tanzania’s government had not paid him $33m (£28.8m) it owes in compensation.

Lawyer Roger Wakefield told the BBC the money was awarded after Tanzania’s government seized lands belonging to the South African farmer.

A Tanzanian government spokesperson told the BBC that the country’s lawyers had arrived in South Africa to investigate.

In a statement on Friday, Air Tanzania said that it expected to make flight schedule adjustments “due to unforeseeable circumstances”

, but did not give any further details.

The carrier’s managing director Ladislaus Matindi told Reuters arrangements had been made for passengers to resume their journey on another flight.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Millions of dollars have been spent on the carrier, which Tanzania’s President John Magufuli is hoping to revive

The move comes barely two months after Air Tanzania opened its service to South Africa.

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has led attempts to revive the state-owned airline, hoping to boost tourism and turn the country into a major transportation hub.

It had just one plane when the president was elected in 2015. Since then, millions of dollars have been spent on the purchase of eight new aircraft.

But the carrier is battling several multi-million dollar lawsuits with its former suppliers.

This is also not the first time Air Tanzania has had a plane seized. In 2017, Canadian construction firm Stirling Civil Engineering seized the airline’s new Bombardier Q400 plane in Canada over a $38m lawsuit.

The Q400 was released in March 2018 after Tanzania’s prime minister and attorney general negotiated its release. No details were given about the terms of the settlement.

British Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

British Airways will resume flights to Cairo on Friday after services to the Egyptian city were suspended for a week because of security concerns.

No further detail was provided on the nature of the security issue.

German airline Lufthansa also cancelled flights to Cairo on Saturday but resumed services one day later.

On 20 July, British Airways said it would halt flights to Cairo for seven days. It now plans to resume services on Friday.

“Following a thorough assessment of the security arrangements, we are pleased that our service to and from Cairo will resume from… 26 July”, the airline said.

British Airways currently runs one flight from Heathrow to Cairo and back again per day.

BA provided little detail on its decision to suspend flights, and the move was criticised by an executive of state-owned EgyptAir as “without a logical reason”.

The country’s aviation minister, Younis Al-Masry, also expressed “displeasure” at the decision.

Travel advice

The UK government has strong warnings in place for travel to Egypt.

In its current advice, the UK Foreign Office says “there is a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation” in the country.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warns against “all travel” to certain parts of Egypt.

But Cairo is part of a safer region where the FCO only suggests reviewing its advice before visiting.

Following the bomb explosion that destroyed a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula in October 2015 after it had departed Sharm El Sheikh airport, the UK was one of a number of countries to temporarily suspend flights to and from the

GTBank launches #BeatTheDistance initiative for kids in rural communities

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) has launched nationwide initiative tagged #BeatTheDistance, to improve educational outcomes for children in rural communities by easing the difficulties they face with mobility to and fro school.

Through the initiative, the Bank is providing students in remote parts of the country with bicycles to reduce the time and energy in getting to school whilst helping to boost their attendance and focus on academics.

It said by providing them with bicycles, it aims to empower the children most affected by these challenges beat the distance, not just to school but between their present realities and immense potential.

Organised as part of the GTBank CSR Action for Rural Empowerment Scheme (GTBank CARES), the initial stage of the #BeatTheDistance initiative will focus on children in 20 rural communities across the Taraba, Enugu and Ondo States.

Jerry Hannatu, a student of Government Technical Training School, Jalingo, is one of the first beneficiaries of the initiative.

Before receiving the bicycle from GTBank, he had to trek for an hour and half to get to school.

Now, his 10 kilometre journey to school takes him about a quarter of that time.

Jerry and other beneficiaries like him will now be able to spend less time travelling to school and more time in the classroom improving their academic performance and attaining the skills and knowledge to reach their full potential.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said: “Children are our greatest hope for a better future and it is our duty to ensure that every child has access to quality education regardless of their socioeconomic background or geographic location.

“As an institution that is passionate about empowering young people to reach their full potential, this initiative reflects our commitment to building a society where distance is no longer a barrier to education for any child, and in every community.”

He added: “At GTBank, we will continue to leverage our unique capabilities and broad networks to help people and communities thrive.

“Whether we are intervening in public education, investing in underserved communities, promoting the Arts or working to protect the environment, we are constantly looking for creative and impactful ways to touch lives and give back to society.”

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