Air Tanzania - Airbus deal said to be off By Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN | Jan 13, 2011 (eTN) - The Air Tanzania management clearly did not want to wait for a call "from above" and swiftly issued a statement on their aircraft purchase plans, after WikiLeaks blew a wide hole into their silence over ongoing allegations that not all was well in their negotiations with the two leading aircraft manufacturers. "The Airbus deal is off, too," was the message from corporate headquarters, trying to avoid even more intense scrutiny for the nearly bankrupt state-owned airline, which has been gobbling up resources like a bottomless pit and yet is still hoping for another bailout from taxpayers' money. Airbus was the company declared "chosen" by management, and the allegations now are that as Boeing told them they would not accept "middlemen" for their proposed deal, that the ATCL managers then went to Airbus, trying the same thing. The public announcement, therefore, is seen and interpreted as "seeking absolution" by pre-empting anything which might emerge on their discussions with Airbus at a later stage. Now largely a "spent force" as one aviator from Dar es Salaam put it to this correspondent when discussing the circumstances of the WikiLeaks documents, he went on to add: "I think parliament may after such revelations not give them more money, and if that is so, they must liquidate the company. Since the crash of their B737, they simply have not gotten back on their feet and with only one aircraft left for them, what really can they do? "At least Precision Air has stepped up their flights in Tanzania, and I hear they will be starting to offer shares to the Tanzanian public very soon. If that is so, we no longer need a state-controlled airline which cannot perform, and if they close, the staff worth absorbing can get new jobs easily with other airlines, even Precision or 540 Aviation. So I hope our politicians after this latest scandal over Air Tanzania also got enough now and close this chapter for good."