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Lonrho to Start Operating 1st Angolan Private Airline

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Lonrho Plc, an investment holding company with infrastructure assets in 17 African countries, will begin operating Angola’s first privately owned commercial airline, with daily flights within the next week.

“We’re starting, hopefully, within the next week to fly from Luanda to Cabinda and to Soyo,” Executive Chairman David Lenigas said after the company released financial results for the year ended September. The domestic service will begin with a single aircraft serving the north of the country from the capital Luanda three times a day. “An additional two aircraft will be arriving from Europe within four to six weeks,” said Lenigas. Lonrho has invested $10 million in the airline so far, he said.

Angola, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, is rebuilding after a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002. Lonrho owns Fly540, which has been operating in Kenya since 2006, and its only competition in Angola is private charter airlines, Lenigas said. Service in the country will grow to six domestic routes with a total of six aircraft within the next six months, he said in a telephone interview today.

“Only then will we look at expanding in the region,” said Lenigas. “Our plan is to fly in all four directions across Africa, but we first need to establish ourselves domestically.”

In the first quarter of 2011, Fly540 will start a West Africa regional operation out of Ghana’s capital, Accra, flying to Senegal and Equatorial Guinea, Lenigas said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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