By: Kim Cochrane

The travel trade is watching with interest to see how the recently launched Mozambique Airlines performs, although it’s too soon to access any long-term impact the venture may have.

Ethiopian Airlines owns a 99% stake in Mozambique Airlines, which commenced operations in December last year.

The airline reportedly connects eight domestic destinations: Maputo, Nampula, Tete, Pemba, Beira, Nacala, Quelimane and Chimoio.

“We understand the airline aims to improve connectivity within Mozambique and to promote competitiveness in the region. This is in the interests of both consumers and the travel agency community,” said Mladen Lukic, Travel Counsellors GM.

Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said: “To own and operate different hubs in Africa is part of our Vision 2025 multiple-hub strategy. The new Mozambique Airlines will serve as a strong connectivity option to cities whose geographic locations made surface transportation costly in terms of time.”

He says the airline will also enhance international flight connectivity to/from major domestic cities via Ethiopian Airlines’ growing global network.

Paul Da Silva, Director of XL Novo Mundo Travel, agrees that the airline creates more frequencies and better connecting times to the domestic cities in Mozambique that it services. He says Chimoio in particular was a difficult city to get to in the past. While his office has not yet had any requests in this regard, he hopes to see more affordable airfares for Mozambique.

Valerie Van Der Vyver, Thompsons Holidays Airline Development Executive, agrees the new player may force carriers who have the monopoly to relook “exorbitant fares”.

In terms of connectivity into and in Mozambique, Van Der Vyver says LAM will no longer have the monopoly in the Mozambique domestic market since there will be alternative options from Maputo to Beira, Pemba, Nampula, Tete and Quelimane. The only new route not previously serviced is between Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and Maputo International Airport, she adds.

Says Van Der Vyver: “We’ve not experienced any increase on Mozambique Airlines as yet, but we are considering options to combine LAM and Ethiopian Airlines flights from Johannesburg to Pemba, Beira, Tete and some Nampula via Maputo International Airport. Mozambique Airlines offers daily frequencies, which eliminates restricted travel for leisure clients.”