A set of measures to promote business tourism in Angola is being introduced, facilitating access to the country and domestic transport, as part of government efforts to stimulate the economy, according to the latest report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
In the document, the EIU highlights the project to create a new airline for domestic flights, Angola Expresso, under a public-private partnership between state airline TAAG and a private company and/or civil aviation companies yet to be selected.
“New services and lower costs can boost domestic tourism and business travel, which should have a positive impact on stronger economic growth,” said the EIU, adding that the size of this stimulus was unlikely to be enough to ensure a “substantial change” in their growth forecasts.
The transport minister, Augusto da Silva Tomás, will direct the commission responsible for setting up the company, which will be run by private interests, starting in 2019.
TAAG has experienced operational difficulties due to economic and financial constraints facing the country since 2014, which were exacerbated by the devaluation of the currency in 2018.
Faced with strong criticism from consumers over high domestic prices, the company announced in early February that it would reduce domestic tariffs by 10-20% and adopt a variable pricing model.
Foreign airlines have also been experiencing difficulties due to Angola’s retention by of revenues valued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at US$500 million, including TAP – Air Portugal, South African Airways and Emirates.
The Africa Monitor Intelligence newsletter recently wrote that a consortium of some of Angola’s private aviation companies is assessed by industry sources as the move most probable to end in the creation of Angola Expresso.
Among the companies in the best position to be part of this consortium are Airjet, Aerojet – Transporte Aéreo, Heliang – Transporte Aéreo and Air Guicango, which have Embraer 135, Beechcraft B200, Citation and Embraer 120 aircraft.
While working on a solution for domestic flights, the Angolan government has been moving forward with the introduction of visa facilitation measures and, since the end of last week, citizens from 61 countries, including the European Union (EU), who wish to travel to Angola, may apply for a tourist visa upon arrival in Luanda, and must present only proof of accommodation and means of subsistence.