Mozambique’s EU-Blacklisted LAM Airlines To Fly To Lisbon

Filed Under: Other Airlines

All the time we see government owned airlines launch routes that are highly questionable, built more around prestige than economics. Well, is there any prestige associated with launching a new flight with a leased plane? I guess we’ll find out soon with LAM Airlines.

LAM Mozambique Airlines Basics

LAM Mozambique Airlines is based in Maputo, Mozambique, and is the small flag carrier of the country. The airline currently has a fleet of six planes, including two 737-700s, two EMB190s, and two Dash 8s.

LAM Mozambique Airlines 737

The airline currently operates domestic flights, as well as services to Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania.

The airline used to fly to Europe, though in 2011 was blacklisted from the EU over safety concerns.

Well, the airline will now be making a comeback to Europe… sort of?

LAM Airlines To Operate Flight To Lisbon

LAM’s Director General has revealed that LAM Mozambique Airlines will launch 3x weekly flights from Maputo to Lisbon as of March 31, 2020. The route is initially being launched as a trial for six months.

Given their EU blacklist, LAM intends to lease a Hi Fly A340-300 for the service, featuring about 260 seats.

Hi Fly A340

Hi Fly A340

The ~5,200 mile flight will operate from Maputo to Lisbon on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and from Lisbon to Maputo on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. An exact schedule hasn’t yet been revealed, though.

TAP Air Portugal Also Operates This Route

TAP Air Portugal currently operates this route 3x weekly, and it will shortly be operated using an A330-900neo (currently it’s operated by an A340-300), so that’s quite a nice plane for the route.

TAP Air Portugal A330-900neo

This is where the whole situation gets weird. Does LAM plan on competing with TAP? Well, LAM’s Director General says they want to negotiate a partnership with TAP so that there are almost daily flights between the two countries:

“We want, if possible, a partnership with TAP for a direct flight almost daily.

Within three or four years we would like to have daily flights between the two operators, with code sharing so that a person can buy a flight from Porto to Nampula, for example. But also vice versa, from Pemba to Porto, or to New York or London.”

So, it sounds like LAM wants a partnership with TAP, but hasn’t actually agreed on anything? If so, I’m not sure TAP would actually want much of an agreement in this situation? They’re having another airline come in and compete with them head-to-head with a leased plane, and increasing capacity to a level that’s not supported by current demand?

I’ll be curious to see how this plays out.

Bottom Line

LAM wants to launch flights between Maputo and Lisbon as of March 2020 with a leased Hi Fly A340, given that they’re blacklisted by the EU. They want a partnership with TAP, but it doesn’t sound like anything has been worked out yet.

I’m still not totally sure I get this. It seems to me like the goal here is increasing service between Portugal and Mozambique which is fair enough. If that’s the case, though, wouldn’t a better strategy be to give TAP some sort of subsidies to increase service, rather than having the airline wet lease a plane to offer a competing service?

Do you think this flight will actually happen?

Comments
  1. Unless they will be fully subsidized (which I doubt) flying these Route, I don’t see this flight taking of in the near future, let alone with a leased Aircraft. TP is allready flying these Route 3 times a week, if they would feel the demand they would have extended it to a daily flight. And for TP this (MPM) is a Stopover, their following destination is JNB, so if TP don’t fly both Non-Stop it simply means that there is not enough demand on those Routes.
    And I hardly doubt that TP would ever start a Codeshare with a company who is banned from flying in the EU, even with a leased Aircraft.

  2. @Nelson, TAP hasn’t flown to JNB for quite a few years now (2011 I believe).
    @Lucky, LAM has been removed from the EU blacklist back in 2017.

  3. @Rui N.
    I know, but they do it via MPM in Codeshare with SA for the last leg which I believe is the only and shortest existing connection between LIS-MPM-JNB.

  4. This is grotesque… Assuming that there is a need for more capacity on MPM-LIS, anybody in his/her right mind can and will choose, besides TP, using SA via JNB or QR via DOH before entrusting their money in advance to an airline like Air Mozambique, especially considering that for many destinations beyond LIS, it will still be a one stop journey. While there is no reason to be wary of Hi-Fly for the flight’s actual safety, everything else, scheduling, cancellations, interlining, refunds, EC 261 protection etc… would be in the hands of the local airline and we all know what it means in some parts of the world.

    By the way, Lucky, it seems to me that you have been the only one surprised by your experiences with TAAG. Also, where are you with your Nigerian plans ?

  5. Mozambique is quite a tourist country and I am sure there would be demand. When I went there couple of years ago with TAP, the flight was absolutely full both ways. I also talked to locals on the plane and they complained that there is not enough direct flights. You’re forgetting that it is a former Portuguese colony, so naturally there will be locals who want to go to Lisbon and vice versa whether on business or leisure.

  6. I would avoid TAP at all costs after they damaged and lost our luggage and stole items from it. The worst is after complaining, they denied all responsibility and gave us nothing. Would take another airline any day if I happened to be traveling between Portugal and Mozambique.

    Incidentally, there are LOADS of expats between the two countries, so this route is not that outrageous.

  7. @Pierre,
    SA don’t fly direct neither non-stop to LIS.
    And flying from MPM to LIS via DOH seems me a bit off the direct route…
    And as you say, I don’t think there is a big need for more capacity. I don’t know about any EU carrier flying to MPM non-stop. Maybe that explains also the “no need” for more capacity.

  8. Small pet peeve here… When you make comments like ‘The airline currently has a fleet of six planes, including two 737-700s, two EMB190s, and two Dash 8s.’ could you use the term ‘comprised of’ instead of ‘including’. When you say ‘including’ it implies there are other aircraft in the fleet, but you have just listed their entire fleet. Aside from that, love the site.

  9. I flew to MPM on TAP about a year ago, they already have some minimal local partnership with LAM, using their lounge and check in counters, maybe that’s where their codeshare illusions come from. Business class hard product on those old A340s was badly out of date and about on par with the Hi Fly hard product that LAM will have.
    Surprisingly enough Business class was almost full on both flights, with eco being half empty. Adding to that the fact that the whole country has less than 8k hotel beds, it’s safe to say tourism doesn’t create much demand.
    I would be very surprised if this flight operates longer than a few weeks.

  10. Hey, if they ever get their own aircraft you can fly the route on your way back to Singita Boulders, which is only a 4 hour drive from MPT.

  11. Hey, if they ever get their own aircraft you can fly the route on your way back to Singita Boulders, which is only a 4 hour drive from MPM.

  12. @BrewerSEA: compared to what some airlines, ‘airlines’ and would-be-airlines present nowadays, landing on the tiny gravel strip of Singita Aerodrome with a full A330 for intercontinental travel sounds almost plausible! 😀

    Anyway, I do believe that it’s not relevant if the airline is blacklisted if they use a wet-leased hi-fly aircraft based in LIS. And if it is: there are (were) many more examples where whole airlines are banned except certain specific aircraft.

    I think it’s a bad idea to aggressively start competing with someone you wish to build a partnership with, but then again, logic seems to work differently in large parts of Africa.

  13. My Dear Ben, TAP already gets enough subsidies and doesn’t make money because of the high salaries and privileges of their crew and senior corporate vultures, so no, let LAM come in with a leased aircraft. TAAG did the same from Luanda some years ago. Cheers from Lisbon.

  14. LAM EU blacklist, thank you for providing very useful and necessary information for a foreigner reader like us, when learning and traveling

  15. As a previous comment mentioned the headline is wrong – LAM is NOT an EU black-listed airline.

    There are a lot of versions of the EU black list (Regulation 474/2006) around on the internet, but many of them are out of date – including the Wikipedia article.

    The correct latest version (currently 15 April 2019) can be obtained from the EU website (link avail on the Wikipedia article)

    Neither LAM or any other Mozambique airlines are currently banned or subject to any Annex B restrictions.

    There was a ban which took place in 2011, which was due to deficiencies with the Mozambique Civil Aviation Institute, which issued their AOC rather than direct problems with the airline. However following corrective actions the Institute passed an EU safety audit and the ban was lifted in 2017.

  16. This route can work well given the large O&D demand , it can also be a success if they are to offer smooth connection via Maputo to and from cities like Johannesburg , Cape Town , Harare and Durban.

  17. LAM has got to break free from Portugal and sail to different shores otherwise Mozambique will be an oppressed colony forever.
    LAM will be better off dealing directly with its neighbors and travel agencies in rich countries.
    The porituguese only brings misery to Mozambique.

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