See also:
» 27.10.2009 - Govt's investments in infrastructure drive Angola's industry
» 21.08.2009 - SA and Angola sign trade and development deals
» 14.08.2009 - Angola investing in manufacturing industries
» 30.07.2009 - Angola praises AfDB’s settling in Luanda
» 05.05.2009 - Angola steps-up cement production plants
» 24.04.2009 - Angola to invest $8.6 billion to bolster industry
» 09.04.2009 - US bank grants Angola $120 million credit facility
» 14.11.2008 - All Angolan airlines banned from EU

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Angola | São Tomé and Príncipe
Economy - Development | Travel - Leisure

Angolan airliner eyes São Tomé buy-out

afrol News, 16 February - The national airliner of Angola, TAAG, is reported to eye a possibility of buying a majority shareholding in the just established airliner of São Tomé and Príncipe, STP Airways. With a looming oil boom in São Tomé, the island nation has become an interesting site to invest, especially in the transport sector.

The pro-government newspaper 'Jornal de Angola' reports that TAAG has shown its interest in obtaining a controlling position of the new São Toméan airliner, with which it recently reached an agreement of joint flights to Portugal. TAAG however has not wanted to confirm its interest in STP Airways.

STP Airways was only recently founded, to fill in the gap after the state company Air São Tomé was grounded. The new national airliner unites both state and private capital in an effort to keep the archipelago connected domestically and with the outside world, in addition to reduce dependence on Portuguese airliner TAP. The São Tomé government has indicated that it prefers private capital to control STP Airways.

The new airliner already is totally dependent on its comprehensive business deal with TAAG. The São Toméan company, since recently setting off on its virgin flight, has leased most of its equipment and aircrafts from its Angolan counterpart.

Only this month, an even closer cooperation between TAAG and STP Airways was announced. The two airliners are to jointly operate a new route between the Angolan and Portuguese capitals, Luanda and Lisbon, making a stopover in São Tomé. The new connection with the ex-colonial power will be the first-ever competition with Portugal's TAP, which now runs a weekly flight between São Tomé and Lisbon.

TAP late last year became unpopular with the São Toméan government as the airliner threatened to cancel the archipelago's only intercontinental flight connection if authorities did not improve runways on the São Tomé airport within a given deadline. Authorities immediately found Taiwanese funding to do the necessary repairs, which are now being implemented. But the embarrassing incident also demonstrated São Tomé's total dependence on TAP in a time when the country's gears up to become an oil exporter.

Neither the TAAG/STP Airways route to Lisbon via São Tomé nor the Angolan investment in the new airliner are secured, however. Sources speaking to 'Jornal de Angola' had indicated all would depend on whether the new Luanda-Lisbon connection proved profitable. If not, TAAG would find it difficult to take over a major part of STP Airways shares, the newspaper had understood.

But if everything goes according to the ambitious plans, STP Airways in cooperation with TAAG will carry out flights from the archipelago to Lisbon twice a week, each Monday and Friday. TAP, which flies to every Portuguese speaking country, has strongly indicated it will stick to its once-a-week flights between the two capitals on Saturdays.

Flight connections between São Tomé and Lisbon will thus triple, even before the oil boom has taken its grip on the archipelago and while efforts to boost tourism have yet to succeed. Analysts question the market for this large amount of flights to the islands of only 120,000 inhabitants.

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