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Published On: Sat, Sep 23rd, 2017

Ethiopian Airlines preparing for Mozambican domestic market

nsnbc : Daniel Tsige, Ethiopian Airlines in Mozambique, said Ethiopian Airlines says is preparing to enter the Mozambican domestic market, and that the airline hopes that soon passengers on domestic routes will be able to fly on Ethiopian Airlines planes.

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Earlier this year the Mozambique Civil Aviation Institute (IACM) put the domestic routes out to tender. Ethiopian Airlines applied to operate all the routes and its bid was accepted. This is the first time in Mozambican history that foreign airlines have been allowed to operate domestic routes in the socialist-governed African country.

In an interview published in Friday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, Tsige, said his company regards the Mozambican domestic market as attractive, and believes it can help the market grow and develop. Entering the Mozambican domestic market, he said, is part of the strategy of Ethiopian Airlines of increasingly consolidating its position as an African aviation giant. “We believe that we need strong African air companies”, Tsige said, “otherwise the African skies will continue to be dominated by non-African companies”.

Currently Ethiopian Airlines is dealing with the formal, administrative matters that must be completed before it can fly inside Mozambique, which include registering as a Mozambican company. “We hope to conclude the formalities within the deadline stipulated by the government (180 days)”, said Tsige. “We want to start our activities in Mozambique as soon as possible”.

Tsige did not say how many planes Ethiopian Airlines will dedicate to the Mozambican domestic network, or how much it is prepared to invest in Mozambique. The company wants to win the preference of passengers, Tsige added, by offering good quality services at accessible prices. He thought the current fares (that is, those practiced by Mozambique Airlines, LAM) were “very high”. “We want to promote low and competitive prices”, he continued, attracting many passengers, and flying very frequently. That is the way to make a company grow”.

Tsige said he preferred to regard LAM as a partner, rather than as a competitor. “There is a healthy form of competition”, he said. “It will not be a question of dominating or destroying each other”. There were other factors hindering the growth of air travel in Mozambique, he said, including airport fees and insurance. “The cost of insurance is very high when compared with that in other countries where we operate, including in Ethiopia itself”, Tsige stressed. Nonetheless, the company intends to begin its operations in Mozambique and then negotiate these and other problems with the government and other stakeholders.

F/AK – nsnbc 23.09.2017

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