Ethiopian Airlines drops plans to use Nacala
The Mozambican government intends to farm out Nacala International Airport, in the north of the country, to private management, as part of the restructuring of the publicly owned airport company, ADM.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, at the end of the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, said that privatization was intended to improve the efficiency of the airport, and attract international airlines to fly there.
“The objective is to transform Nacala Airport into an aviation hub to receive international flights and distribute passengers to their final destinations”, he said.
Nacala is the most modern airport in the country. Designed by the Brazilian company Odebrecht in partnership with ADM, it was inaugurated in December 2014. Its runway is 3,100 metres long and it can accommodate large aircraft such as the Boeing-747. Theoretically it can deal with half a million passengers and 5,000 tonnes of cargo a year.
The new airport cost 144 million US dollars, and was opened, with much fanfare, by the then President, Armando Guebuza.
But in practice almost nobody flies to and from Nacala. Despite being billed as an “international airport”, the only company making scheduled flights to Nacala is Mozambique Airlines (LAM), and only to and from Maputo. The 16 check-in desks are largely unused. To date no foreign airline has shown any interest in flying to Nacala.
Saide said that the airport strategy under discussion includes a plan to reduce the number of airports that receive international flights. Currently there are eight of these.
The airports will be divided into those that receive scheduled international flights, and those that receive charter flights, essentially for tourists. “All the airports which currently receive international traffic will continue to receive charter flights to facilitate access by tourists”, said Saide.
The changes will be implemented gradually, he added.Source: AIM