Fly Angola (EQ, Luanda 4 De Fevereiro) has suspended domestic flights with effect from August 18, 2023, citing economic and operational constraints exacerbated by a weakening Angolan kwanza, leaving state-owned TAAG Angola Airlines as the only scheduled domestic player.

Expressing "regret and frustration", the private airline, in a statement, explained: "Over the last months, we have faced continuous challenges caused by incalculable losses resulting from bad conjunctural policies, which unfortunately triggered an accumulation of operating costs that we were unable to absorb".

"The recent devaluation of the kwanza against the dollar has contributed significantly to our current economic distress. The vast majority of our costs are indexed to the US dollar, making it impossible to reflect this increase in tariffs; this generated a financial disparity that became unsustainable. This indexing practice has become even more challenging in a scenario where we exclusively operate domestic flights, despite the fact that we have tried without success to obtain the necessary traffic rights to launch regional flights to neighbouring countries."

"It is our clear desire to resume regular domestic flights in Angola as soon as we have guarantees of sustainable conditions for a long-term investment. This break will allow us to re-evaluate our operational strategy in coordination with the various official entities and, finally, resume our operations with the strength necessary to serve the people of Angola in the way they deserve." The airline gave its assurances that all holders of unflown tickets would be fully refunded as soon as possible.

High production costs, including fuel, airport and air navigation fees, and taxes on aviation, mark the Angolan aviation environment. Most travel in Angola is essential, so most services are from Luanda to provincial capitals, not interprovincial routes.

Fly Angola provided scheduled services from Luanda 4 De Fevereiro to Cabinda, Catumbela, Dundo, Lubango, Saurimo, and Soyo with two EMB-145LRs. On July 18, it started using a DHC-8-300 leased from Avmax Aircraft Leasing and had signed a letter of intent with Aergo Capital for a DHC-8-Q400. Chief Executive Officer Belarnicio Muangala informed ch-aviation that the DHC-8-300 remained active, while the DHC-8-Q400 had been cancelled.

A new domestic business strategy was to see the launch of interprovincial connections between secondary airports such as Catumbela and Lubango - both to be certified as international airports in the next two years.

"As an airline that does not receive state subsidies and that suffered incalculable losses, FLY Angola was forced to seek profitability in other regions to avoid bankruptcy," the airline said. Muangala stressed that only operations within Angola were suspended. "As you will have noted, the government continues to pump financial subsidies and aid into TAAG, making it unsustainable for competition to survive the current economic distress," he noted.

Fly Angola first regional subsidiary – FLY Centrafrique in the Central African Republic (CAR) – has already begun its certification process and hopes to start commercial operations in October 2023 with the two Embraer aircraft leased from its parent. FLY Centrafrique is a joint venture with Angolan private investment firm TEGMA-SU.

In June, Muangala said Fly Angola was looking to establish multiple AOCs in Africa, primarily targeting Central and Western Africa, its ultimate goal being enhanced connectivity through a coordinated network of multiple hubs.