Mozambique: Government plans to make air transport market more flexible

3 January 2008

Maputo, Mozambique, 3 Jan – The Mozambican government this year plans to introduce changes to make the air transport market more flexible, the country’s transport and communications minister, Antonio Munguambe said in an interview on a Mozambican television show.

The minister said that the measures would considerably reduce the routes that are operated by just one airline and allow new carried to enter the market.

The measure is aimed at making the country comply with the Yamoussoukro convention, which sets out that African airlines should be able to operate freely on all intra-state African routes.

In an interview with Mozambican newspaper Notícias, The transport and communications minister said that air carrier Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique (LAM) “has to prepare itself for competition,” as the government will open up some regional routes to other companies.

Currently, each route is operated by just one airline per country, which means that the routes between Mozambique and South Africa are operated by LAM and South African Airways (SAA)

This year, however, all regional routes except for Maputo-Johannesburg (the most frequent and most profitable) will be opened up to competition, namely Beira-Johannesburg, Maputo-Cape Town, Pemba-Johannesburg and Maputo-Durban.

The minister said he was confident that these measures would allow more, and possibly cheaper flights to be carried out transporting more businesspeople and tourists to Mozambique.

Munguambe said that Lam was not prepared for the challenge but warned that “it has to prepare itself as the country cannot wait on it.”

The company’s accounts for 2006, published Monday, showed that LAM remains in the red, having posted a loss of around US$4.5 million, which was an improvement on the loss for 2005.

MACAUHUB FRENCH