Maputo, 12 Feb (AIM) – Mozambique Airlines (LAM) had to postpone five flights scheduled for Sunday for lack of fuel.
The fuel companies turned off the taps because LAM has run up large debts with them. The problem, according to the independent television station STV, affected over a thousand passengers.
One of the flights affected was international, on the route from Maputo to Harare and Lusaka. The other were domestic flights from Maputo to Pemba, Quelimane and Inhambane.
Initially, LAM was tight-lipped about the reason for the delays. “They haven’t told us anything, they just say they are delayed”, said one angry passenger.
STV found that LAM owes over 600 million meticais (about 9.5 million dollars) to the publicly owned fuel company, Petromoc, and a further 42 million meticais to Puma Energy. LAM also has a much smaller fuel bill, for 27,000 dollars, in Harare.
Contacted by reporters LAM refused to make any comment about the flight delays. However, Petromoc confirmed that LAM owes it 600 million meticais.
A Petromoc source told STV that the debt did indeed exist, but would not reveal over what period it had been contracted.
This situation occurred despite the government’s decision last year to hire a South African company, Fly Modern Ark (FMA), to rescue LAM from impending bankruptcy.