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LAM to Fly to Dubai and China by July

LAM to Fly to Dubai and China by July

Mozambique Airlines (LAM) plans to launch regular flights to Dubai and China by July, the director general of the state-owned airline, Theunis Crous, told Lusa on Wednesday 13 March.

“We hope to start flights to Dubai and to China, Guangzhou, in the next three months. In June or July,” said the source, during the presentation ceremony at Maputo airport of the company’s first cargo plane – a Boeing 737-300F.

“The company is stabilising. I’ve been here (as managing director) for a fortnight, but I’ve been here for eight months, and we’re following the defined plan and what was planned,” added Theunis Crous.

The head of LAM is also managing director of South Africa’s Fly Modern Ark (FMA), which was appointed by the Mozambican government in April last year to restructure the state-owned airline.

On 28 February, LAM’s Board of Directors announced that the company’s managing director, João Carlos Pó Jorge, was stepping down as part of the company’s restructuring measures. On the same day, he was replaced by Theunis Crous, who will take on the role on an interim basis until 30 April, when the decision to renew the contract with FMA, in which LAM’s new managing director is a partner, is due to be taken.

According to Lusa, João Carlos Pó Jorge stepped down after LAM’s restructuring director, Sérgio Matos, denounced a scheme to embezzle money, with losses of around three million euros, in ticket sales shops, through automatic payment terminal machines (TPA/POS) that do not belong to the company.

At the ceremony to launch the new LAM Cargo service, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, Amilton Alissone, recalled the previous decision to “extraordinarily intervene” in the management of LAM, which is wholly owned by the state, with the aim of “stabilising the company to avoid progressive losses, while the best assessment is made for a decision on the long-term future of this company”.

“We intervened in the management of LAM at a time when the company was going through moments of progressive depreciation, with extreme difficulties in honouring its commitments to third parties and other indicators that pointed to a more challenging situation for the company. As a result of the in-depth work carried out with the carefully identified partner, less than a year on, the reality of Mozambique Airlines shows signs of improvement, conveying confidence that the decision taken was the right one,” emphasised the government official.

The source added that “safe steps are being taken towards stabilising the company, with several advances having been made in recent months, such as increasing the fleet in service, improving its capacity to respond to market demand, increasing domestic frequencies, opening new routes and reopening others”.

He went on to highlight “the 30 per cent reduction in fares to some destinations, which is promoting improved access to air transport services in the country, boosting tourism as a result, among other economic gains”.

“Financial work has been done and is being done to ensure that the company’s financial transfers are at the desired level. Despite the good results we are achieving, we recognise that the company has not yet reached the desired level of efficiency,” concluded Amilton Alissone.

LAM operates regular passenger flights to the country’s ten provincial capitals and to the Mozambican cities of Vilankulos and Nacala. It also flies regionally to Johannesburg and Cape Town (South Africa), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Lusaka (Zambia), and plans to launch flights to Lilongwe (Malawi) and Nairobi (Kenya).

LAM has also been flying three times a week to Lisbon since last December, the only intercontinental destination it currently operates.

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