Our History


One cannot discuss civil aviation development and administration in Tanzania without looking at the pre-independence era and during the first East African Community.

In this respect therefore this brief provides an historical background on the civil aviation administration in Tanzania divided into four parts, starting with during colonial era, after independence, during and after the collapse of the East African Community.

Pre-Independence era

Pre-Independence formal aviation activities in East Africa started in 1929 by a lady called Mrs Florence Wilson based in Nairobi, Kenya. Mrs Wilson established Wilson Airways for charter services and later scheduled airmail services between Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kampala. The airline existence ended in 1939 following the outbreak of the world war and all its aircraft were taken by the then Air Force.

A single authority for air transport responsible to the governments of Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Uganda and Kenya, then under the British colonial empire, was recommended by a Committee in 1943. Thereafter this led to the establishment of East African Airways Corporation (EAAC) incorporated in London in October 1945. In 1948 the East African High Commission was established which provided among others common services in transport and communications. Air transport was managed by this Commission.

EAAC first operations served Nairobi, Mombasa, Tanga, Zanzibar, Dar-es-Salaam, Lindi, Morogoro, Nduli, Southern Highlands, Chunya, Mbeya, Moshi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kitale and Entebbe.

It was using six ex-RAF DH89A Dominies aircraft leased from British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). In 1948 EAAC fleet was expanded to include five Lockheed 18-56Lodestars purchased from BOAC. At the same time newly ordered de Havilland Doves was delivered to replace the DH89A Dominies.

The EAAC grew in numbers of aircraft operated, expanded route structure in Africa, Europe and Far East (Pakistan and India).

After Tanganyika Independence

Between 1961 and 1963 the East African States gained their independence from Britain which resulted in structural and operational changes in civil aviation administration and the airline. 

The East African Common Services Organisation, the regional independent body replaced East African High Commission soon after Tanganyika got its independence in 1961 with Dustan Omar, a Tanzania as its first Secretary General.

Among its responsibilities included providing common services in transport and communications. Civil aviation was one of the services under the transport sector. It was managed under the East African Directorate of Civil Aviation. The Directorate responsibilities included provision of air navigation services in the region, aircraft registration, personnel licensing, air transport economic matters and, search and rescue coordination.

The Directorate of Civil Aviation was managed by a Director General based in Nairobi Kenya supported by three directors who were stationed in the three East African countries. The Area Control Centre was also located in Nairobi while Aerodrome Division was directly manned by individual East African States.

Meanwhile the first East African Citizen to ascent to the chairmanship of the East African Airlines Corporation was a Tanzanian called Chief Abdullah Fundikira at the end of 1964.

The birth of East African Community in 1967 marked the end of East African Common Services organisation. Thus common services, including civil aviation previously managed by the East African Common Services Organisation were passed to the East African Community.

During the First East African Community 

East African Directorate of Civil Aviation was maintained during the East African Community for oversight of civil aviation technical activities, air transport economic issues including market access matters, provision of air navigation services, employment and training. Aerodromes management, its maintenance work and fire departments were manned by individual states. In the Air Navigation Services, provision of air traffic aerodrome control was spread across airports in the region with the area control centre in Nairobi.

The Directorate management included a Board chairperson who was selected by the Community, a Director General and Directors from member states of East African Community. The Directorate regional head office headed by the Director General remained in Nairobi, Kenya. Three more offices led by Directors for Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda were stationed in their respective countries. The first East African Director General was a Ugandan, Mr Zefania Balidawa, and Dr. C.V. Mpinga Mgana becoming the first East African Director of Civil Aviation for Tanzania office.

The collapse of East African Community in 1977 led to the natural death of East African Directorate of Civil Aviation and thus each country developed and managed its own civil aviation sector. It also led to the collapse of the East African Airways (EAA).

After the Collapse of the First East African Community

When the East African Community collapsed in 1977, all East African countries were forced to establish their own Civil Aviation organisations. The United Republic of Tanzania established the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) by the Civil Aviation Act, 1977. Mr Lot Mollel was appointed its first Director General. 

Air Tanzania Corporation – ATC, was established in the same year to provide air transport services suspended after the collapse of East African Airways jointly owned by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

All Civil Aviation activities and responsibilities were managed by the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) which was under the Ministry of Communication and Transport. However the Area control centre continued to be in Nairobi up to 1998 when the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania established its own in Dar es Salaam.

The DCA had a Board of Directors which was responsible for oversight of the directorate and thus served as an advisor to the Minister in charge of civil aviation. The DCA Director General was an ex officio member of the Board while other members were appointed by the Minister. Mr Lot Mollel served as the Director General up to December 1992 when he was replaced by Dr C.V. Mpinga Mgana and subsequently (Mr Lot Mollel) became the ICAO Regional Director for Eastern and Southern African Office in Nairobi.

Dr C. V. Mpinga Mgana before becoming the Director General represented Tanzania at the ICAO. Dr C. V. Mpinga Mgana led the Directorate from 1992 up to 1997 when he was transferred to the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works. Mr W. Malisa took over as an Acting Director General and continued with the already started process to restructure the Directorate to a semi autonomous organisation – executive agency of the government.

The DCA came to an end in March 1999 following the establishment of Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority as an Executive Agency of the Government. In September 1998, Engineer Margaret T. Munyagi was appointed as the Director General to lead the Agency.

During Economic Reforms in 1990’s

Economic reform in the 1990’s required autonomous regulatory authorities for technical and economic regulations in their respective sectors. Generally, the established authorities included responsibilities in enforcing technical standards (safety and security) and for promoting effective competition and economic efficiency, protecting the interests of consumers and promoting the availability of regulated services to all categories of consumers in the regulated sectors.

Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) was one of the first four regulatory authorities to be established. The other authorities were Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) and Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority.

TCAA started operations as a full regulatory authority in November 2003 with Eng. Margaret Munyagi first appointed as an Acting Director General pending formal appointment of the re-established Authority. In July 2004 Engineer Margaret Munyagi was formally appointed as the first Director General of the Authority.

The Civil Aviation Act no. 10 of 2003 mandate the Authority to regulate economic, safety and security aspect of aviation industry as well as providing air navigations services in Tanzania. Air navigation services are provided around the country at 14 airports. The Authority is also running the Civil Aviation Training Centre which is located at Julius Nyerere International Airport – Terminal 1. The School offers various aviation courses in Air traffic control, Aeronautical information Service, Aviation Security, Airport and Flight Operations.

Engineer Margaret Munyagi led the Authority until October 2010 when she retired from public services. Mr Fadhil Manongi thereafter was appointed as the second Director General of the full autonomous Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority.

During this time of restructuring, another significant development in civil aviation management in Tanzania was the introduction of two Government Executive Agencies, the Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA) in 1999 and the Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA) in 2002. TAA is mandated to manage all public airports while TGFA provides air services to VIP’s and government officials.

Another significant development of administration of civil aviation sub-sector in Tanzania and East African Community was the establishment of the East African Community Civil Aviation safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA). The Agency was established in June 2007 and its first Executive Director of the Agency was a Tanzanian Mr Mtesigwa O. Maugo.

The Agency is a technical institution of the Community responsible for strengthening civil aviation oversight institutional framework in the region. Its responsibilities among others include promoting the safe, secure and efficient use and development of civil aviation within and outside the Partner States; assisting the Partner States in meeting their safety and security oversight obligations and responsibilities under the Chicago Convention and its Annexes; and providing the Partner States with an appropriate forum and structure to discuss plan and implement common measures required for achieving the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation through the implementation of international standards and recommended practices relating to the safety and security of civil aviation.