Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique (LAM) fleet briefly grounded over unpaid debts

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© Edwin Vanoverschelde

Financial woes over Mozambican airline LAM as their entire fleet (four aircraft) got grounded on Thursday morning after claims of unpaid bills, a new evidence of the current financial crisis in the country. 

Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique (LAM) could not ensure its first flights of the day (5 July 2018) due to financial difficulties that prevented us from refueling our aircraft,” the airline said in a statement. “Thanks to an agreement with the fuel supplier, we were able to resume our operations a few hours later,” the airline added.

The cancellations caused havoc at different airports across the country, even the Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosaria was a victim as he was forced to wait in the VIP lounge at Maputo International Airport for his flight to Niassa province (North). The Prime Minister was able to maintain his visit by summoning a military aircraft.

As a result of the financial woes, the Mozambican state, which still owns 90% of the company behind the airline, has announced to fire the board of directors and to set up a provisional management committee.

According to an audit conducted by Ernst & Young, the current debt of LAM is around €22M. Since 2016 Mozambique, one of the poorest countries on the African continent, has plunged into a serious crisis caused by the discovery of a debt of $2 billion that the government had hidden.

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