Mozambique investing US$500 million in airports


Aeroportos de Mocambique, the airport company of Mozambique, will invest US$500 million over three years to modernise its infrastructure and entice more foreign airlines to the country.

Manuel Veterano, Aeroportos de Mocambique’s CEO told AFP that the money will be spent on modernising and rehabilitating the airports in Maputo, Pemba, Nacala and Tete.
“Our aim is to attract more regional and international companies to fly to Mozambique as well as to attract more tourists to the country,” he said. He noted that last year the number of domestic passengers fell after rises posted in 2009 and 2010, mainly due to high ticket prices and difficulties facing Mozambican airline LAM. Nevertheless, over the last three years passenger numbers rose 13%.
“The expectation is that investments will result in raising the level of utilisation of national airport infrastructures, by increasing traffic and also passengers.”

Mozambique has already begun modernising a number of its airports and has already invested US$200 million in this regard. In June last year it was announced that the Vilanculos Airport had completed its 13 month-long revamp.

The Chinese construction group Anhui Foreign Economic Construction was awarded the US$10 million contract to upgrade and modernise the airport in the seaside tourist town of Vilanculos in Mozambique’s southern Inhambane province.

According to Tourism Update, the capacity of the airport has been increased from 75 000 to 200 000 passengers per year and the total area of the facility now stands at 7 200 square metres. There are two departure terminals, a domestic terminal and an international arrivals terminal. In addition, the revamped airport has three car rental offices.
“This is not the only airport in Mozambique that we have a chance to improve and reform. It will be the first of many,” said Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza.
“This will improve tourism. In order to realise our efforts, the challenge will be to increase and sustain the development of more hotels and luxury resorts. More accommodation is needed for the growing numbers of tourists, wishing to stay with us here in Vilanculos. We hope that the new airport will attract more developmental activity,” he said.

In mid-April it was announced that Mozambique was spending US$102 to turn its northern Nacala military air base into an international airport in an effort to attract tourists and investment to the region.

The state controlled Noticias newspaper said the airport will process 300 000 passengers per year and will handle direct flights to destinations in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The conversion of the air base is being handled by Brazilian construction and engineering company Odebrecht SA.

In 2010, Maputo International Airport was overhauled at a cost of US$75 million to accommodate 900 000 travellers per annum, AFP reports. In addition, construction has begun on a new domestic terminal for the country’s busiest airport.