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Mozambique’s flag carrier seeks new investments

APA

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Mozambican flag carrier Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique (LAM) is looking for an international partner with which to create a separate intercontinental airline, says the state-owned company’s chief executive Marlene Manave.

Manave is quoted in the local media on Tuesday as saying that the airline still faces major challenges to meet even its internal demand.

“If we were to resume inter-continental flights, we would lose money for two or three years.

“The government wants to see the Mozambican flag out there as soon as possible, but we have said we need five to 10 years before we are ready, hence the idea of finding a financially steady partner,” Manave explains.

Owned by the government, apart from a 4 percent shareholding distributed among its 700 staff members, LAM operates flights to 10 domestic and five regional destinations.

It has plans for routes to the Seychelles and Ethiopia.

However, the European Union banned LAM from flying in its airspace due to significant safety concerns in April 2011, causing the company to adopt a regional focus.

Manave said the ban was due to “civil aviation deficiencies which continue to be a challenge”.

The company is renewing its fleet but faces considerable financial constraints.

“We are not getting government guarantees. We finance aircraft on our own but it is tough, especially because of the high fuel prices.

“We have further challenges. For instance, some of Mozambique’s runways are in such poor condition that tyres only last half as long as they should.”

She said that, for a small airline like LAM, survival depends on making good fleet decisions, cooperating with other carriers and balancing aircraft purchase and lease agreements.

The state-owned airline last made profits in 1999.

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