Aviation: An Angolan company is transforming Brazil into a strategic market – for cargo and tourism

“We reached 60% of the movement before the pandemic and we are expected to expand this growth”, Eduardo Fairen Soria, CEO of TAAG. (Credit: Post)

The resumption of the global air market reached 70.8% of the pre-pandemic level in June 2019, according to data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Faced with the possibility of sustaining growth through 2022, airlines, domestic and foreign, have sought different strategies to increase revenue. The initiatives mainly include increasing the number of passenger and cargo flights to international destinations or even domestic segments. Taag Linhas Aereas Angolanas is an example. By the end of this year, it intends to increase the frequency of weekly flights between Brazil and Luanda, the capital of Angola, to five, and from four to 16 the total number of flights per week in the cargo section between Guarulhos Airport, São Paulo and China. “The idea is to make Guarulhos the main entry point. There is also interest in connecting other cities in Brazil with China,” said Eduardo Fairen Soria, CEO of Taago, on Monday (29), when he presented the company’s growth plans.

Fairen was accompanied in Brazil by the executive director for the commercial area of ​​Taaga, Lisa McNally. The purpose of the trip was to participate in meetings with partners and discuss commercial projects. The country is a strategic hub for the company in terms of mobility between Latin America and Europe, via Angola. “This connection allows cultural and economic exchange to take place,” said Fairen. The growth plan also aims to boost the economies of emerging countries that are part of the BRICS.

The fact that, as he says, Angola is the shortest distance between China and South America, the executive intends to use it to increase business, with an emphasis on the cargo division. Cargo traffic has become an important ally for airlines in 2020 and 2021 in light of the sharp decline in passenger traffic due to pandemic traffic restrictions. Airplanes were initially used for the transport of vaccines, and later for all types of cargo, mainly those from electronic commerce, a sector that has experienced a dizzying increase in the last two years.

The Angolan company, founded in 1938, had seven weekly frequent lines to China, but business was slow. Betting now continues on e-commerce demand and on partnerships, such as the US$200 million announced in June with Chinese intercontinental cargo group Lucky Aviation. “We want to increase revenue on the Brazil-Angola leg,” Fairen said, noting that aircraft carrying produce tend to be fuller on the route between Africa and Brazil.

Taag operates two aircraft in the cargo division and is due to receive six more 777s by 2023. In 2022 alone, the company transported more than 1,000 tons of products to Brazil from China. The amount is 100% higher than that recorded in the period before the pandemic. From 2019 until now, the total has reached 4.1 thousand tons. If we take into account the occupancy of aircraft – with cargo or passengers – in 2022, the growth was 34% compared to 2019.

PASSENGERS Taag operates three weekly flights between Brazil and Angola. As of November 5, there will be four, and it is predicted that there will be five by the end of the year. The decision was motivated by an increase in demand between the two countries with the resumption of tourism. “We reached 60% of the movement before the pandemic and we expect to extend that growth,” said the CEO. The company initially bets on expanding the fleet from the current 24 aircraft to 38 in the medium term. The goal is to reach a total of 52 planes by 2026.

According to CEO Lisa McNally, Taag aims to offer people the full range of experiences when visiting Africa, whether for business or just for adventure. “Trade between Brazil and Angola has increased, as has demand for vacations and tourism,” he said. “That’s why we increased the frequency of flights between São Paulo and Luanda.” The expansion of routes and the number of aircraft involves training people to integrate the workforce, initially as pilots, sector-related engineers and mathematicians. A sign that Taag is already starting to gain cruising altitude after facing a period of turbulence.

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