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Jun 11, 2008

Angola gives nod for Lonrho’s airline, water bottling projects

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Aim-listed African investment conglomerate Lonrho's Fly540 airline and its Lonrho Springs water bottling project, in Angola, would benefit from tax holiday incentives promoted by the Angolan government's National Private Investment Agency (ANIP), the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Lonrho said it had received the necessary formal approvals, the Certidao Registro Investimento Privado (CRIP) from ANIP, which would facilitate the importation of capital equipment on a duty-free basis and the repatriation of capital.

"We are delighted that the ANIP approval process has been completed so professionally in such a quick timeframe. These approvals are a significant step to commencing the operations for both Fly540 and Lonrho Springs within Angola and providing tangible job creation and gross domestic product to the Angolan economy," commented Lonrho executive chairperson David Lenigas.

On June 4, Lonrho announced that it had been making substantial progress in the development of the company's pan-African airline, Fly540, which provided international passenger and freight services in East Africa.

The company had plans to expand the airline across the continent. Fly540 Kenya, which was established in 2007, had become the second largest carrier in Kenya, carrying about 20 000 passengers a month.

In January 2008, Fly540 Kenya had established new routes from Nairobi to Uganda, Somalia, Southern Sudan and Tanzania. The airline planned to add new services to Zambia, Rwanda and the DRC by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the development of ticket and administration offices, hangars and infrastructure at Fly540 Angola had been at an advanced stage at the beginning of June.

Two aircraft would be deployed to Luanda in June this year, with a further four new aircraft to be deployed by September. Fly540 Angola would, as routes were built, fly to fifteen domestic locations throughout Angola. Appropriate regional routes to neighbouring countries would be added once it had been established as a domestic operator.

Further, the airline would in the second half of this year, open its third strategic hub in Ghana, to service domestic and regional routes in West Africa.

In addition, Lonrho said the airline would for the remainder of this year and 2009 develop key subsidiary hubs to carry domestic and inter-country traffic on a localised basis, which would in turn be connected with a senior regional hub.

Zimbabwe, Djibouti, South Africa, Guinea, Mozambique, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea were all at feasibility stage for consideration as subsidiary hubs.

The airline would, following the successful establishment and operation of the Kenya, Angola and Ghana senior hubs, also establish a regional jet service (Boeing 737-500s).

Meanwhile, Lonrho Springs BVI, Lonrho's holding company for water interests, was operating or developing water-bottling plants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Africa and Mozambique.

In February, Lonrho announced it would build a $5,3-million spring water bottling factory in Lubumbashi, in the DRC, to meet growing demand stemming from the burgeoning copper and cobalt mining industry in Katanga province.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
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