Mozambique’s luxurious Nacala International Airport was inaugurated by President Armando Guebuza in 2014 with pomp.
The most modern airport in Mozambique was meant to be the second busiest in the country. But three years after the $200m airport opened, it remains virtually unused.
At the time of the launch, it was expected that the airport could deal with 500,000 passengers and 5,000 tons of cargo a year. Today, the numbers are a far cry from the envisioned targets. The only airline using what has now become a ghost airport is Mozambique's own carrier LAM (Mozambique Airlines). An article by BBC quotes that it is operating at only 4% of its capacity.
Nacala has been caught up in a corruption scandal involving Brazilian contractor Odebrecht. According to CNN’s Money the bribe cuts across four continents. Up to 12 countries were involved. Several presidents were caught up in the web. The Latin America's largest construction firm coughed nearly $800 million in bribes to individuals between 2001 and 2016.
Plans to make Nacala International Airport profitable
Corruption allegations aside, the government is planning to attract international airlines in Nacala. According to Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita, the government is hoping to interest partners willing to operate in the airport. Mesquita was cited by the independent television station, STV. Already, the Minister said that Dubai-based carrier Emirates Airline has visited Nacala International Airport.
He is enthusiastic and hopeful that these plans will eventually bear fruits and develop Nacala's potential to attract international airlines.
Mozambique’s most modern Nacala International Airport was envisioned to handle 500,000 passengers and 5,000 tons of cargo a year