Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Interview: Marlene Manave, LAM Mozambique CEO

LAM Mozambique plans intercontinental joint venture

LAM Mozambique is looking to establish a joint venture with an unnamed widebody operator in 2015, chief executive Marlene Manave tells Flightglobal.

The collaborative effort would utilise the foreign partner’s aircraft and flight crew, along with mixed cabin crew and a co-branded livery. Its planned route network would include destinations in Europe, China and South America.

Manave would not identify the other carrier, but says that both parties are making presentations to their respective governments.

“We are currently looking at a partner with whom we can start an operation jointly,” she explains. “It is still under discussion to see whether we can start operating next year to Lisbon, China and Brazil. [It would involve] a widebody coming to Mozambique.

“The aircraft would be brought by them. The cockpit crew will be them. The cabin crew will be mixed, and the brand will also be mixed. So it would be a joint operation by two airlines … It’s something they want, we also want, but if we can’t make it happen next year then probably they will look for some other partner.”

Wet-leasing aircraft from a foreign operator would enable LAM to circumvent the European Commission’s ban on Mozambican carriers entering EU airspace.

An existing codeshare deal with TAP Portugal would not be affected by the proposed arrangement, Manave stresses.

Separately, LAM plans to launch flights to Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, Dubai and Mumbai when it acquires three Boeing 737-700s between 2016 and 2017. The order may be amended to -800s, and talks are under way with Boeing about potentially bringing forward the first delivery to 2015.

“By expanding our domestic and regional network, we are also creating the demand that might be necessary to launch our intercontinental routes,” the CEO notes.