As a Tanzanian pilot, I am writing this letter with great regret and great frustration. I feel it is time that some of these safety issues are made public by any means available. Perhaps somebody out there will take notice and listen for once. Maybe for once, this type of information can make it into the general public and the various airlines flying into Tanzania. The issue I am writing involves Tanzanian skies and how unsafe it has become, not because of the people piloting the planes, but about the individuals on the ground forcing planes and its passengers into unsafe situations. It is being sent to airlines and newspapers all over the world. Here is the bare truth about certain issues that are blatant security breaches, issues that are just being overlooked for a small bribe by corrupt and backward individuals here in Tanzania. People who refuse to listen to better opinions. People who does not use common sense (perhaps they don't have any) and ignore the rules that are in place to safe-keep our passengers and pilots. These are the same people who breaks the promises that you the airline or tour operator promise your clients. I think its worth a quick read, even though my english is quite bad, and for that I do apologise. As a local pilot myself, I have firsthand experience of many of these issues and am in direct contact with many frustrated local and expatriate pilots and the unlucky airport staff. I urge every reader, future passenger, pilot, and just perhaps if I am lucky, the international community to take these issues very seriously and expose the abortion that is airport security in our beloved Tanzania and Zanzibar. Airport security. Great efforts are made regarding airport security, depending which corrupt official you ask. The worst by far is Zanzibar "International" Airport. One great example is Tropical Air, who not so strangely enough, always seem to feature whenever illegal or corrupt issues surface. As it stands, it is possible to access the Tropical Air hanger from the back/outside, with any illegal or dangerous items one can think of. That will put anybody or anything within airport boundaries, meaning anything possible can end up on any flight leaving Zanzibar airport, more particular on any Tropical Air flight. Tropical Air planes are also allowed to depart straight from their hanger. Now this may not seem strange to some people, keep in mind, anybody could enter that hanger and leave on any Tropical Air aircraft without anybody from airport security, customs or immigration being aware of this.There is no control over what leaves or enters that hanger. Anything can be smuggled from there and nobody would know. They have been previously implicated in drug smuggling and illegal importation, but neither was ever confirmed and both issues just faded away. I wonder who was paid off to keep the silence and for how much? So where are these new airport security measures that the airport Director General, Capt Said Ndubogani is implementing? To the south of the airport, the security/boundary fencing is unfinished, and anybody or anything can enter Zanzibar International Airport at anytime, thereby have access to any and all secure areas even the runway, as they so often do, considering planes regularly have to wait for dogs and cows to be chased of the runway by the sleeping airport fire brigade, who hardly ever have any water or fuel to begin with. To certain aircraft landing and departing znz, this issue can be negotiated, however this does not mean it is less safe to pilots and passengers. This is an impending disaster. Heavy wide-body airliners are landing in Zanzibar from Europe every other day. Any and all airlines should consider this as a direct security threat to their planes and passengers as animals or people can and do end up on the runway, with these heavy jets landing and departing at mind bending speeds. This will be disastrous and fatal not even mentioning that the airport itself is in no way equipped to deal with such a disaster, nor is the island come to think of it. How this airport manages to hold on to it's international status, boggles the mind. So where are these new airport security measures that the Zanzibar Airport Director General, Capt Said Ndubogani is implementing? There are Similar issues regarding Dar es Salaam airport. At the time of writing this, there were still a couple of wall sections down, after collapsing from the heavy recent rains one can only assume, again allowing anybody into this international airport. It should also be mentioned as long as I am discussing Dar es Salaam airport, that some of the air traffic controllers working in Dar airport, should perhaps consider working on the farm, as certain controllers clearly have no idea why they are even there. As soon as things get a slight bit busy, some of the new dar controllers would actually keep quiet and let the aircraft coordinate themselves. We have seen and heard multiple incidents involving International Airliners arriving or departing Dar es Salaam. I should add that there are very good and competent controllers working in Dar, yet it seem they only do the quiet hours. Now, officials will say, then why aren't there as many incident reports filed, as this letter is claiming? Perhaps enough reports are filed. The real question is, what happens to those reports? I can tell you as I have been told by a certain controller. They go into the rubbish. Surprised? Not me. How can we as Tanzanians be satisfied with such incompetence and blatant safety anomalies? How can the international community accept this? If not a single government official responsible for these departments mentions anything, one can only assume they are involved. Are we as Tanzanians proud of this? Are we gong to accept this? Seems like we have... Another strange yet extremely frustrating issue for pilots and airport staff at Dar es Salaam Airport, Terminal 1, is the issue of security staff. Local airport security does not allow pilots into the airport on some days and other times purely harass them even with current and valid airport security ID tags. At the same time random passengers are free to enter and leave at anytime when the pilots are blocked and prevented from freely moving about. I even witnessed a similar issue at Zanzibar Airport, how these Zanzibari so called "security officials" once denied a pilot with an expired security ID entrance, for good reason, but then allowed through another pilot who did not even have a security ID. One was a local pilot and the other a foreign pilot. Guess who was denied entry? The foreign pilot. Again, these issues will probably be denied, depending on which corrupt official is being asked, but these are the facts, and they are undisputed. Bending the rules at Zanzibar Airport has been going on for years and we are fed up, tired and truly embarrassed of our fellow countrymen. So where are these new airport security measures that the Zanzibar Airport Director General, Capt Said Ndubogani is implementing? With ZNZ airport security in tatters, operating international and domestic routes, it is clear that this airport is totally unsecured and plain dangerous. The Zanzibar Airport Director General, Capt Said Ndubogani, who is clearly suffering from hypoxia due to years of flying, recently introduced a new rule that no staff and pilots are allowed into the terminal building. After a great deal of fighting, screaming and phone calls between staff, pilots and employers, it was then made clear that the ban from the terminal building was only from the air or apron side. Now, to put this into perspective to those not familiar, this means that pilots, staff and even transit passengers are not allowed to enter the airport building, wether its for food, water, connecting flights, luggage, weight and balance loadsheets for the pilots etc from the air/apron side. This in itself opens a whole new can of worms regarding the safety of departing aircraft, as staff and crew are denied quick and efficient entry and communications with ground staff and operations. Some of these issues can be managed, however, the very people that are supposed to fly you to your next destination, now does not have quick access to the staff, official paperwork, food, water or working toilets. Yes folks, thats right, your pilot that has spent his whole professional life abiding to unimaginable amount of safety rules and regulations, security and background checks, fingerprinting, being photographed and ID'd, the person least likely to present a safety concern, is treated like the biggest terrorist and villain. This pilot is then supposed to fly you and me safely from destination to destination and be in a good mood and act friendly just to top it off. How does that make you feel knowing your pilot is denied basic human rights? Does this make any sense? That person who you trust is now denied entry into the airport and deprived from something as basic as a glass of water, bag of crisps or even the toilet and all this with appropriate airport security identification, (apparently not in Zanzibar, but we will get to that). International pilots are even allowed into foreign countries up to 72 hours without getting stamped, yet Tanzanian pilots are banned from the local airports? Is this some kind of joke or has our education or rather lack thereof ,finally caught up with us? After a countrywide threat of pilots striking over Christmas weekend, the oxygen starved brain of Mr Said Ndubogani apparently released either new or perviously undisclosed information, allowing pilots and staff to enter from the passenger or cargo side. This was greeted with great relief only up to the point were the security denied us entry anyway. The other day I did manage to enter were the passengers enter, only to be told by the security that us pilots are not allowed into airport after today. It was also brought to my attention that the Zanzibar security recently denied a pilot entry because he only had a Dar es Salaam issued airport ID. All pilots around Tanzania are issued with the airport ID where they are based. For example, pilots based in Dar, have Dar es salaam issued airport ID's. Pilots based in Mwanza have Mwanza airport issued ID's. This allows pilots to move around the country through the various airport without hassle. Again, at Zanzibar Airport, on this occasion, the pilot was denied entry with his Dar ID and harassed because he did not have a Zanzibar airport ID. After some phone calls, it was made clear to me that Zanzibar doesn't even issue official ID's to the expat pilots, only locals. To conclude, pilots without Zanzibar airport issued ID's are denied entry at Zanzibar airport, even though Zanzibar doesn't issue their own ID's. How are the pilots supposed to get to work? Who makes up these bogus rules? It was also brought to my attention recently, that Zanzibar airport security confiscated a pilots headsets and even his pen, stating it was a clear and dangerous offense for the pilot to attempt to bring his pen into the airport area, after that same pilot had to defend and prove that his headsets was not a bomb of some kind. Fact. At the time of writing this, we were still unable to meet with this pilot. Perhaps he is still trying to get through security. The znz airport security is now officially gambling with the lives of its passengers and the pilots who are supposed to fly them safely. I have not heard of such stupidity and utter nonsense in my 45 years. Zanzibar airport, you have for years embarrassed us Tanzanians and Zanzibari's. The state of the airport alone makes me cringe every time I tell someone I am from Tanzania. Here is a short quote from a newspaper article regarding Zanzibar airport. ''Organizations that regard Zia ( Zanzibar International Airport) as one of the worst airports in the world include Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which publishes the influential Foreign Policy (FP) magazine. Proposing the inclusion of Zia in the worst airports list, one reader recently wrote: "Check-in is done outside the building on wooden stalls resembling a bazaar, inside the building, which is made up of one single medium-sized room, there are no fans, no air conditioning, among others." Concerns Zati voiced to the Government during the meeting also included gross indiscipline among Zia workers, too many porters, uncollected garbage, a lack of proper flight information, illegal sale of tickets and currencies and cheating at luggage scales, even paying the security staff after luggage was scanned.'' The direct quote above is taken from a article in 2007. Funny how the only thing that has changed in 5 years is the air conditioners in the departure lounge and even they hardly ever work. These are some the latest in moronic and supposed safety regulations imposed on all airport staff, yet as mentioned before, Tropical Air have access to their facilities by totally bypassing airport security, cattle roaming on the runway and pilots being denied entrance into Zanzibar airport. What new security measures will the oxygen starved brain of Mr Said Ndubogani come up with? Perhaps we should ban planes from landing on the runway, as the tires blacken the tarmac? Perhaps they should ban fuel-trucks from driving around on the apron refueling aircraft, because jet-fuel is highly flammable? Perhaps you should ban overweight or to skinny people? Perhaps he should ban passengers from the terminal building? Oh wait, they just did. Domestic passengers were forced to an old truck garage the other day that served as the domestic departure for the smaller companies. Not all the domestic passengers were discriminated against, just the smaller companies, pictures included. What absurdity can you dream up for us in Feb Mr Said? I am not even mentioning the abortion that is the unsafe parking of airliners. Most days, they are parked so close that pilots have to analyze the situation after shutdown, only to find that they are blocked in anyway. I spoke to a pilot of a big Italian airline the other day. When I approached him he was busy taking pictures of how close he came to taxiing into another Airbus parked to his left, under instruction from the marshaller. His comment was something in the line of: "Not even in the London underground does one get closer than this " Unfortunately this is not restricted to Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam and it doesn't only involve the big jets. People like Mr Said and his minions are employed in highly sensitive areas all over our country. How can certain companies and people do whatever they seem fit even if that means breaking and bending countless airport and security rules? Is this not the 21[SUP]st[/SUP] century? Why then can these ''officials'' at a International Airport do whatever they seem fit, disregarding the wellbeing of every single person involved, except for those benefiting from their internal and corrupt schemes? There are a couple of other issues we would like to bring to the publics attention, but lets stick to blatantly discriminating and endangering the lives of our passengers and pilots for now. More specifically issues regarding Tropical Air. A widely known and discussed issue involves the owner of Tropical Air, Omar H Nura. This man has been flying Caravans without a instrument rating for years. To those of you unfamiliar with this, to fly certain planes, pilots need to prove and demonstrate their capabilities and qualifications by renewing their licenses and instrument ratings, some every 6 months, and others every 12 months, depending on the type of license held. Known by all as Capt Omar, pilot and owner of the famously crooked and incompetent Tropical Air, this man is flying aircraft and even more recently trained some of his family members who are now supposedly "qualified" like the two Daud brothers, without even holding a valid license of his own and never actually finished his own training on this particular airplane, not even mentioning the fact that he is not a qualified instructor on Cessna Caravans. Need I say more? Another issue regarding this is that the local Civil Aviation Authority claims that he has in fact renewed his license and that it may even be printed and be in his possession. Every other operator, manager and pilot know that this man has not renewed his instrument rating in more than 5 years, perhaps 6. This proves that there are many corrupt individuals and authorities, who are supposed to govern and protect the lives of our beloved ones in the air. These facts are known and widely discussed in most aviation conversations wether its between ground staff, pilots or management. How long do we as proud Tanzanians have to put up with such corrupt and incompetent individuals? People gambling with the lives of others, for a small fee? How long do we have to accept uneducated and illiterate individuals being employed in such important positions as airport security? Do we have to wait until somebody dies, again? Until your family member dies? Look at the recent Ferry disasters. What safety programs have been introduced after the latest Zanzibar ferry disaster? The system in Tanzania is very broken and I urge everybody to write about their own stories and incidents. Lets expose these people and stand up to them. Perhaps somebody can actually make a difference in our very unsafe skies, chaotic roads and our lives. No corrupt and incompetent official has the right to gamble with our lives. Time to take control Tanzania. Lets expose these incompetent and corrupt Omar's and Said's of the world. Follow this story as I am sure we will see some response from the higher authorities.