Key Points:

  • LAM plans to increase its current fleet from nine to 12 aircraft this year and aims for 22 by 2027.

  • The airline has reintroduced flights to Zimbabwe and South Africa, with Maputo-Lisbon to resume in November.

  • Fly Modern Ark, managing LAM, sees significant profit potential in cargo transport and has already secured funding for LAM's expansion.

Expansion Strategy to Address Previous Operational Challenges at LAM

MAPUTO — Amid aggressive expansion plans, Linhas Aéreas de Mozambique (LAM) has its sights set on expanding its fleet from nine to a minimum of 22 aircraft by 2027, according to the airline's director of operations, Hilário Tembe. Speaking in Inhambane, where festivities marked the reinstatement of a direct link between Inhambane and Johannesburg, Tembe highlighted the ambitious fleet expansion.

He stated, “We're anticipating a significant inflow of aircraft in the upcoming years. By year-end, our goal is to add three more aircraft to our current fleet, summing it up to 12. Our roadmap then targets an addition of another 10 aircraft by 2027.”

Reinvigorating regional connectivity, LAM re-established flights to Zimbabwe's Harare and Johannesburg in South Africa last year. Furthermore, this November will witness the relaunch of the Maputo-Lisbon route. Also in the pipeline are new routes: from Maputo to both Cape Town and Lusaka, the latter being an entirely new connection.

Cargo transport is another avenue LAM is exploring for profitability. On this front, Theunis Crous, the director of Fly Modern Ark (FMA)—the South African firm tasked with managing LAM—expressed optimism. He shared, “We've recently finalized the lease for a Boeing 737 freighter focusing on domestic and international cargo, specifically targeting South Africa. We're hopeful to commission another within six months.” Crous added that cargo transport presents a lucrative opportunity, emphasizing, “It's an area with high profitability potential.”

Crous also highlighted FMA’s mobilization of funds for LAM's ambitious strategy, securing US$15 million (€14 million) to facilitate the addition of new routes and aircraft. This is expected to boost passenger numbers from an average of 46,000 to 57,000 monthly.

These efforts to rejuvenate LAM come after it faced a series of operational challenges in recent years, primarily due to a dwindling fleet and underinvestment. Certain non-fatal incidents, as some experts opined, were a consequence of inadequate aircraft upkeep.