African carrier Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines has been forced to halt all flights, claiming that ‘economic conditions’ have made it impossible to keep running. The airline, a subsidiary of Ethiopian Airlines, operates domestic flights to eight destinations across Mozambique. The suspension of flights will begin on Thursday, May 6th, with no estimate on a return provided thus far.
In a statement this week, the airline said,
“Despite the challenges, Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines remained resilienty operational until the economic effects of the pandemic became so severe that they made it impossible to continue due to the drastic drop in demand for travel in the domestic market.”
The airline has also claimed the suspension of operations “results from the decline in demand among travelers due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines is the primary competition to LAM Mozambique Airlines, which will continue to operate in the region. With Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines out of the picture for the time being, LAM Mozambique Airlines will be the only airline offering flights in Mozambique.
Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines has not yet hinted at when it may return to the skies but will ‘monitor developments in the market‘ before making a decision. Before canceling flights, the carrier flew to eight destinations in Mozambique, including the capital Maputo, along with Nampula, Tete, Pemba, Beira, Nacala, Quelimane and Chimoio. However, in recent weeks the airline had already trimmed its schedule down to Beira, Maputo, Nampula, and Tete.
The carrier utilizes DeHavilland Dash 8-Q400 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft acquired from Ethiopian Airlines, which owns a 99% stake in the airline. Most recently, it was operating a Dash 8-Q400 (registration: ET-AXP) owned by Ethiopian Airlines.
Ethiopian Airlines has enjoyed fantastic success over the past decade, more than doubling in size from 2011 to 2019. This year, Ethiopian has been celebrating its 75th anniversary. The airline hosted a special event onboard a flight to Cairo, Ethiopian’s first-ever commercial route first operated on April 8th, 1946.
It played a key role in establishing Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines in 2018, with the subsidiary carrier commencing operations in December 2018.
Ethiopian Airlines set up Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines as part of its ‘Vision 2025’ initiative, with the airline aiming to ‘become the most competitive and leading aviation group in Africa by providing safe, market-driven and customer-focused passenger and cargo transport, aviation training, flight catering, MRO and ground services by 2025.‘