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The withdrawal of Mozambican airlines from the EU’s air safety blacklist will transform the Mozambican domestic air market into a ‘filet mignon’ for foreign strategic partners, commander Paulo Soares says.
The specialist appointed by the European Commission to lead cooperation and technical support to the Mozambican Aeronautical Authority told Lusa: “It is now tempting to find a foreign partner – and I know they are there.” They were waiting for this, he said, because now they are no longer at risk from an operational point of view.
Soares has provided technical support for the reforms that the Mozambican authorities have implemented in technical areas related to aviation safety. Yesterday, after about six years, the European Commission acknowledged that there had been “an improvement in air safety” in the country.
The decision will allow Mozambican-registered airlines to fly into European Union airspace, and will save Mozambican companies – especially flagship carrier LAM – money on insuring their planes, the captain said.
“The Mozambican companies were at risk, so the insurance of the planes was more expensive. This decision reduces the risk assessment, so companies can ask for a re-assessment of insurance premiums,” he explained.
They will also have more passengers.
“Many companies operating in Mozambique [in the coal, gas, oil, and agriculture sectors] are insured for their personnel, but one of the conditions is that they can not fly with companies that are blacklisted” Soares explained.
So if an executive of one of these companies has a job in Beira, he or she will have to fly South African Airlines from Maputo to Johannesburg and then to Beira with the same airline.
“He will take a full day to get there, but with the end of restrictions, the same passenger will be able to fly directly with LAM Maputo-Beira, and arrive there in 2h10m. Imagine the increase in passenger numbers for companies that fly internally,” he said.
LAM, said Paulo Soares, “will have to grow its fleet and increase flight frequencies to some places, because there will be an increase in passengers it was not counting on”. It is this market that is now so appealing to international partners, who will be able to get planes flying in Mozambique they had parked up and idle at home.
Although it is now authorised to do so, “LAM does not intend to fly to Europe soon,” Soares says. “At this point LAM’s strategic plan is internal consolidation, then regional consolidation in southern Africa. Only then will it truly think of flights to Europe or America,” he said.
The EU’s ‘blacklist’, drawn up by the European Agency for Aircraft Safety, prohibits a total of 181 airlines certified in 16 countries from flying to the European Union due to lack of safety oversight by national aviation authorities.Source: Lusa
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