By Alexandre Nhampossa
The African company Ethiopians airlines, through its subsidiary Ethiopians Mozambique Airlines, began on Saturday to make flights on the domestic routes of the country, after having made its first successful flight on the Maputo – Beira – Maputo route on November 28.
In a first phase the company will fly on the routes Maputo, Tete, Manica, Beira, Chimoio, Quelimane and Nacala Porto with two Bombardiers Q400 New Generation, 70 seats, registered in its name, which operates with the sales code ET 071.
The entry of the company in Mozambique is a result of the policy of liberalization of national airspace enacted last year by the Mozambican Government, aiming to make air transport competitive in the country.
Following the public tender launched, had also been selected Malawian Airlines and the low-cost Fastjet, which began operating some domestic routes in Mozambique in November, generally undercutting Mozambican state-owned airline LAM’s prices, but charging extra to hold luggage and to reserve private seats.
LAM, meanwhile, has continued to face challenges including grounded aircraft due to lack of maintenance and spare parts, and fuel shortages.
On its first day of operations, Ethiopians Airlines came in at quite attractive prices. On the Maputo / Nampula / Maputo route, for example, while LAM charged 21,380.00 Mzn, Ethiopians charged 19,207.00 Mzn. On the Maputo / Tete / Maputo route the Mozambican state-owned company charged 28,808.00 Mts, while the major African airline charged 17,842.00 Mts.
With the start of operations of Ethipians it is expected that there will be more competition between the three companies that operates in national routes, which may further lower the fares of travel, making the use of aircraft not only understood as an elite mode of transportation, as currently happens in Mozambique.