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Businesspeople in Nampula, northern Mozambique, are worried about the possible closure of the provincial capital’s airport to scheduled international flights, due to be transferred to Nacala airport.
The proposal to transfer international flights from Nampula to Nacala was presented last year by Mozambique Airports.
According to businesspeople cited by Notícias, “If the proposal for the transfer is approved, it will delay the development of the region’s economy, as not even the provincial government itself is prepared for such a change.”
The concern was expressed last Thursday in Nampula at a meeting of local entrepreneurs promoted by the Provincial Business Council (CEP), in coordination with the Association of Hotel and Tourism of Nampula (ASSHOTUR).
Julina Arculete, a businesswoman based in Nampula, said that the closure would be embarrassing for business people, who would have to travel to the provincial capital by land.
“If the transfer of international scheduled flights from Nampula airport to Nacala goes ahead, we will be moving backwards. One can only imagine what sort of gymnastics businesspeople will have to perform after landing in Nacala and travelling by land Nampula,” she observed.
Caetano Brito, a businessman in the tourism sector, said that closing the provincial capital’s airport to international flights was unjustified.
He added that if such change would compel the transfer of the entire Nampula government machinery to the Nacala-Porto, with all the consequent negative impact on the economy.
The executive director of the Mozambican Tourism and Hotel Federation, Raufo Satar, explained that the proposal to close Nampula airport to international flights was made by the company Mozambique Airports in order to make Nacala profitable.
“However, we in the private sector believe that this proposal, while good for the country’s development, has not yet reached the time to be implemented. We are therefore holding these meetings to determine people’s feelings about this issue, so we can produce a final report,” he said.
Meanwhile, deputy director of Nampula International Airport, Dinis Tacula, contacted by Notícias, said that the proposal to transfer international flights to Nacala was still being studied and that Nampula airport would continue to receive international flights.