Air travel in Mozambique: Foreign airlines to explore domestic routes
LAM administration does not know when will services return to normal
Criticism of Mozambican Airlines (LAM) is mounting due the to frequent cancellations of flights for technical reasons – even with passengers already boarded. LAM administration is unable to say when services will return to normal and the government plans to intervene urgently in response to passengers’ complaints.
After dozens of flights were cancelled two weeks ago, Tuesday of last week saw the Maputo-Tete flight, with 67 passengers on board, fail to take off three times. Twenty-eight passengers then headed to the LAM counter to demand a refund.
“We will not accept it, life is ours, we will not accept it,” passengers at the LAM counter complained. “The plane did not have security, and if you were there, you wouldn’t feel comfortable with engineers and mechanics with their toolboxes. The airplane tried to take off two or three times and couldn’t,” another said.
Faced with uncertainty over the fulfilment of schedules at the national flag airline, the administration is unable to say when the situation will return to normal, blaming the chaos on company aircraft breaking down.
“At this moment, we have three aircraft immobilised, but the rest of the fleet is operating,” said the LAM maintenance manager.
The government, accused of protecting LAM’s monopoly on domestic routes, is not indifferent to the chaos. Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, Manuela Rebelo, met officials from the LAM maintenance department on Wednesday and heard about the company’s serious technical problems.
“LAM has a fleet of seven aircraft of several makes, of which four aircraft are currently grounded, hence the problem. But safety must come first,” the deputy minister said. She was unable to say what solutions would be put in place to save LAM, but did reaffirm that Mozambican domestic airspace was open to competing companies.
“It is important that companies or anyone interested in operating in Mozambique comes and registers. If they meet the requirements, they will be able to operate,” she said.
LAM has seen frequent changes in management in recent years, but none have seemed able to solve its problems. Several analysts have suggested privatising the company outright.Source: Voa Portugues
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