Angola’s National Airline, TAAG, is a company with over 70 years of aviation history.
Similar to many carriers, TAAG is undergoing a transformation in order to confront the challenges of the times. With a new management team, a new partnership with Iberia Airlines, new destinations on the horizon and a firm commitment to making Luanda a global cargo hub, TAAG’s future looks promising.
Improved service, expansion and comfort
One of the airline's fourteen destinations inside Angola, is a flight from the capital Luanda to the northern agricultural and mining province of Uíge. This is in addition to the dozen exisiting international destinations, and that number is increasing.
Passengers are seeing a difference in the new TAAG, the acronym for Transportes Aéreos Angolanos. One diamond trader is on his way to a meeting in Uige and enjoys not having to drive more than four hours anymore to get there.
"It's 45 minutes only, Luanda to Uige. I think it's better because people can do things really quickly." Says Antonio Oliveira, Diamond Entrepreneur.
"The service, it's also improving. The progress, it's visible. All the people can see TAAG is making progress. Even services, prices. I think they are in a good way." Continues Antonio.
This is exactly what the new CEO, Eduardo Fairen, likes to hear. With decades of experience running airlines in Latin America and Spain, he is turning TAAG around with a new team.
"I have had the fantastic opportunity to launch successful airlines and also revamp older ones. And I have also had the opportunity to enjoy having and have collaborated with fantastic team members that allow us to reach those goals." Explains CEO, Eduardo Fairen.
A major hub in Africa, with an eye on the rest of the world
One of the ways to achieve those goals, is by teaming up with Iberia in a code-sharing agreement. Now that TAAG is again fully certified by European regulators, the alliance with the Spanish carrier is a major boost for TAAG to spread its wings across the globe.
"Iberia has been a very good deal now because in fact, Angola, TAAG, needs to come up and show up on the international scene for the very first time." Says Eduardo.
For TAAG, it will tap into Iberia's hub in Madrid, connecting it to the world.
"The link with Iberia means they can access not only a wider reach of destinations in Europe, but also in North and South America too, It's definitely a win-win. There’s no massive cost involved, there’s increased exposure for both airlines." So says John Strickland, Director of JLS Consulting.
Meanwhile, Angola is building itself as a major hub in Africa, with a new airport in the capital Luanda which is due to open at the end of next year.
The Antonio Agostinho Neto airport, named after the country’s first president, is being built to handle 15 million passengers a year.
"In the West African area, that will be probably the only hub that is operating because the closest hub could be Dakar or Casablanca. And on the South, Jo'burg is on the southern side, is 4 hours away from here." Says CEO, Eduardo.
That is why TAAG is already adding flights to expand that reach. More flights to Mozambique, Namibia and Brazil, as well as Cabinda in Angola, to meet market demand.
Privatisation for TAAG
TAAG are also planning to go private by 2025, which could help it raise the capital needed for its expansion.
The key to that is investor confidence, says airline consultant John Strickland.
"It has a good opportunity to grow for the future and provided investors have that confidence that the business is being run commercially, they may well be able to attract adequate funds for this privatisation plan."
With that new partnership bringing a wider reach for TAAG, one of Africa’s most historic national airlines, is betting on its ambitious strategy.