Tanzania’s national carrier said on Wednesday it will have to postpone its maiden flights from commercial capital Dar es Salaam to China, citing concerns over the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 133 people.
State-run Air Tanzania had planned to begin charter flights to China next month ahead of the expected launch of scheduled direct flights to the key Asian tourist market.
“We have already received a permit to begin scheduled flights to China,” Air Tanzania managing director Ladislaus Matindi told Reuters.
“But we will now have to take the necessary precautions. We will decide when to launch our first flights to China after taking into consideration all the key issues to safeguard the safety of our passengers.”
Tourism is the biggest source of foreign exchange in Tanzania, famed for its wildlife safaris and pristine beaches.
Around 1.5 million tourists visit East Africa’s third-largest economy each year, according to government estimates.