Tuesday, August 28, 2012

► ANGOLA: TAP Portugal and TAAG considering flights to Catumbela?

TAP Air Portugal
Built by Brazilian contractors Oderbrecht International with finishing touches applied by Portuguese firm, Somague at a total cost of US$250 million and consisting of a new passenger terminal capable of handling 900 passengers/hour, 16 check-in counters, 18 immigration booths, two boarding bridges that can handle four aircraft simultaneously, a 3'500 metre long runway and an apron that can hold four Boeing 777-300 or Boeing 767 aircraft or 22 small/medium sized aircraft at the same time, Angola's new Catumbela Airport, in Benguela Province was on Monday, officially opened by Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos.

At present, the new airport is awaiting  certification by Angola’s National Civil Aviation Institute (INAVIC) before scheduled flights can start, but there have already been “informal talks” with Portuguese national carrier TAP Air Portugal (TP) about a possible service to Europe whilst Angolan flag carrier TAAG Angolan Airlines (DT) is said to be considering services to both Namibia and Portugal.

Commenting on the airport's size and proximity to the Angolan capital, Luanda, the head of Angola’s airport and air traffic authority Empresa Nacional de Aeroportos e Navegação Aérea (ENANA), Manuel Ceita said:
Catumbela Airport, Angola
Catumbela International Airport, Angola (Angolabela)
"The Catumbela airport inaugurated on Monday is an alternative to Luanda’s “due to its size and capacity”, says , anticipating an annual movement of 2.2 million passengers. The new airport in Benguela province “can be used by any type of aircraft”, said , cited by Angolan news agency Angop. He added that new airport connections are also being studied."

After a 26 year long civil war that left the countries infrastructure in ruins, Angola, using its new found oil wealth, has invested heavily in rehabilitating its transport network and infrastructure with its aviation sector benefiting from the opening of new airports in Huambo, Cuito Cuanavale, Soyo (Zaire Province), Uige, Dundo (Lunda Norte Province), Saurimo (Lunda Sul Province) and Luena (Moxico Province).

Since January 2009, Angola's Empresa Nacional de Aeroportos e Navegação Aérea (ENANA) has been working on the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of more than 30 airports and runways countrywide.

See this related post:  ► MOZAMBIQUE: TAP Air Portugal boosts Maputo flights; considers Nacala.