Angola - Country Commercial Guide
Transportation (Aviation and Rail)

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-08

Overview

Angola’s air and rail transportation capacity expansion are high priorities in the Angolan government’s development plans.  The Chinese government has provided financing primarily for air and rail infrastructure, while U.S. companies are leading in the supply of aircraft and locomotives.  Given the economic situation and the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 saw a decrease (except on the rail sector) in exports of transportation equipment to Angola.  Nevertheless, the development of the transportation sector remains one of the Angolan government’s top objectives.

Leading U.S. exports to Angola in this category: 

HTS CODE

Description

(US$) 2017

(US$) 2018

(US$) 2019

(US$) 2020

88

Civilian aircraft, engines, and parts

61.6 million

20.7 million

13 million

5.5 million

86

Railway or Tramway Locomotives, Rolling Stock, Track Fixtures and Fittings, and Parts Thereof; Mechanical Etc. Traffic Signal Equipment of all Kinds

216 million

0.9 million

0.35 million

69.2 million

87

Vehicles, Other Than Railway or Tramway Rolling Stock, and Parts and Accessories Thereof

13 million

8.3 million

6 million

6 million

89

Ships, Boats and Floating Structures

0.4 million

0.9 million

1.8 million

0.2 million

Aviation

A new international airport has been under construction 40 km southeast of Luanda for the past 16 years.  Construction is approximately 60 percent complete. The airport was expected to begin operating by 2020 but the Government of Angola announced that the project would-be put-on hold to review the design and engineering and determine if any corrective measures would need to be implemented.  After further review the Ministry of Transportation (MINTRANS) determined that the cost of the corrective actions would remain at approximately USD 1.4 billion.   The Government, however, still plans to commission the New Luanda Airport in 2022.  The project was being led by a consortium of Chinese companies, China International Fund (Infrastructure), China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation (Equipment), and China Hyway Group Limited (Rail Access) in conjunction with the Brazilian company Odebrecht. But in February 2019, the Government of Angola announced that it had canceled the contract with the China International Fund (CIF) due to nonperformance.  CIF was then replaced by Aviation Industry Corporation of China.  

Envisioned as a major transportation hub for the region, the airport is designed to accommodate 13 million passengers annually with 12 aircraft docks.  The 4,200- and 3,800-meter runways, VIP passenger terminal, and air traffic control tower are reportedly already completed. Plans are underway to widen the access road and establish a new rail link to the new airport from Luanda.  The 2021 Angolan state budget allocated approximately USD 33.5 million for construction of the new airport and 18.8 million to rail link access.

The current international airport 4 de Fevereiro, serving both international and domestic fights, is limited to 5 gates and 2 runways of 3,700 and 2,600 meters.  On March 11, 2019, a presidential decree was issued authorizing modernization and expansion of the existing airport.  Approximately, USD 300 million were expected to be allocated for the entire expansion project in the 2020 Angolan state budget.  But the final 2020 state budget only provides funds for the renovation of the runways.  On November 9th, 2019 the Minister of Transportation signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE to develop various projects, including the renovation and modernization of the 4 de Fevereiro International Airport. The renovation should take between 18 to 24 months and is scheduled to start in 2020, but until today there was no movement for the renovation.

Secondary airports in Catumbela (Benguela) and Lubango offer regular domestic and regional international flights.  Of the total of 30 airports located throughout the country, 17 have been renovated recently, though only 12 of these receive regular commercial flights from the national air carrier Transportes Aéreos de Angola (TAAG). During the COVID-19 era, there has been a substantial reduction in flight options.

The Angolan Assembly on July 2021 approved the creation of the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), in substitution of the former Ministry of Transportation’s National Institute of Civil Aviation (INAVIC). ANAC establishes and enforces the regulations and standards for aviation operations and security and  ANAC follows the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) security standards and is working towards positioning Angola as a regional aviation hub. ANAC is preparing for an ICAO audit, originally scheduled for 2020, which has been delayed due to the current travel restrictions.   ANAC has also been working with a U.S. consultancy firm to improve its systems and processes with the objective of obtaining Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category I status.  Achieving this objective is integral to the Angolan governments strategic plan to establish direct flights between Angolan and the United StatesLub. 

In July 2019 The National Company of Airport Development and Air Navigation (ENANA) which managed the country’s civilian airports was restructured into two companies: the National Society of Airport Management (SGA), which is responsible for the management and operation of the national airports, and the National Air Navigation Company (ENNA), which is responsible for air traffic control and safety of air navigation. Board members for both companies were approved in November 2019.

TAAG operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation, and services 10 domestic and 8 international destinations.   TAAG has codeshare agreements with Mozambique Air Lines, Lufthansa, Emirates, Royal Air Maroc, Air Namibia, Brussels Airlines, Air France, and South African Airways.  TAAG’s fleet includes 13 Boeing aircraft (five 737-700, three 777-200, and five 777-300.  Two of the 777-300s were delivered in 2016, which closed out its order with Boeing.  In June 2019, TAGG announced an order for six Dash 8 – 400s from the company Bombardier (Bombardier recently sold its Dash 8 program to De Havilland Canada Ltd). On June 26, 2020, TAAG received the first airplane, the second airplane arrived in August 2020 and on January 25th  2020 they have received the third one, the other three of this order should arrive until end of 2021.  In July 2020, the Angolan government announced that TAAG Structure will be 50% of the State’s representative shares attributed to the State Asset and Participation Management Institute (IGAPE) and 40% to the National Air Navigation Company (ENNA) and remaining 10% will be non-State shares held by a Social Fund for Employees and Workers in the Transport Sector.

In 2019, SonAir, owned by the government oil company Sonangol, began the process of closing its commercial aviation sector and will dissolve all its assets and dedicate itself only to servicing the petroleum industry through its helicopter fleet and flights to Cabinda.  This process is part of Sonangol’ s restructuring process that is scheduled to end by 2021.  The airline canceled all regular commercial flights from Luanda to the Angolan cities of Cabinda, Catumbela, Lubango, Malange and Soyo in November of 2019.  Its fleet still includes Dakota DCIII, Beechcraft (200, 350 and 1900 D), Twin-Otter, and Fokker (50 and 27). Sonangol also owned two Boeing 737-700s that were transferred to TAAG.  SonAir’s helicopter service, which consists of Super Puma EC 225 and Sikorsky S-76C helicopters, was halted in April 2016 due to international air safety concerns related to the Super Pumas and limited local maintenance service capacity.

Small private air transport companies also operate in Angola, to include Mavewa, Helimalongo (four Dash 8), Heliang (one Beech 1900D), Gira Globo (two AntonovAn-32,  one IlyushinIl-76MD and four Ilyushin Il-76TD), Fly540, Diexim (three Embraer 120 Brasilia and two Embraer 135/145) , Angola Air Services (one Embraer 135/145), Air26 (six Embraer 120 Brasilia), Air Nave, Air Jet (two Embraer 120 Brasilia, four Beechcraft 200, and two Jetstream), Air Guicango and Aerojet.

Aircraft and Aviation Equipment

2017

2018

2019

2020

Total Local Production

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Exports

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Imports

176.3

125.3

90.4

151.9

Imports from the US

61.6

20.7

13

5.5

Total Market Size

176.3

125.3

90.4

151.9

Exchange Rates

166

245

365

520

Units: USD millions
Source: United States International Trade Commission and Global Trade Atlas

Leading Sub-Sectors

Aviation

  • Air navigation equipment and support
  • Primary and secondary radar systems
  • Surveillance systems
  • Safety Management Systems
  • Ground maintenance and handling equipment
  • Aircraft refurbishing parts and services

Opportunities

Aviation

Given the age of some aircraft in TAAG’s fleet, opportunities may exist to remodel or refurbish aircraft. TAAG heavy maintenance is handled in-house with TAAG technicians and components supplied by Boeing.  More complex maintenance and overhaul takes place in South Africa, Ethiopia, and Morocco.  GE engine maintenance is handled at the GE service hub in the United Kingdom.  

The new Luanda international airport under construction will represent a major expansion over the current airport.  While the airport civil construction is underway with Chinese and Brazilian companies, opportunities reportedly exist in the areas of air navigation equipment and support, primary and secondary radar systems, surveillance systems, and safety.  The current international airport in Luanda is not TSA certified, while the new airport is expected to have the necessary security infrastructure and processes in place to qualify for this status.  The 2021 Angolan national budget allocated USD 73.8 million for the air transportation sector, which should support new constructions and upgrades.  Renovation and expansion of the 4 de Fevereiro Airport is expected to last from 18 to 24 months and double the passenger capacity from 1.5 million to 3 million.  Ground handling company Ghassist plans to procure a range of new baggage and passenger handling equipment to meet the needs of the new airport.  The company advises that much of their equipment is U.S.-made; therefore, it is anticipated that U.S. companies would be well positioned for these new opportunities.  Similar opportunities exist for ground handling upgrades during the 4 Fevereiro Airport renovations.

Rail

The Angolan government operates three separate railroad lines – Luanda, Benguela, and Moçamedes - each with its own Administrator reporting to the Ministry of Transportation.  The Angola National Institute of Railroad (INFCA) establishes the regulations and standards for railroad operations and holds enforcement authority.  The Luanda line runs 425 km northeast from Luanda to Malange.  The Benguela line, known as the “Lobito Corridor”, runs 1,344 Km from the Lobito port east to Luau on the Democratic Republic of Congo border where a dry port and logistics center are planned.  The Benguela rail renovation completed in 2014 was financed by the Chinese Government with construction by the China Railway Construction Company.  The African Development Bank is funding a feasibility study to refurbish the rail line connecting Zambia and Angola and link to the Benguela line.  The southern Moçamedes line is 857 km long and connects Namibe to Menongue.  The government-owned railroad companies are responsible for the railroad operations and maintenance, including the purchase of spare parts.   In 2010, Presidential Decree 195/10, instituted reforms in the railroad sector, allowing for the private concession of railroad operation and maintenance activities.  However, to date there have been no private companies providing these services. 

The Luanda rail lines will be undergoing some alterations to be able to support the weight of modern locomotives and commercial cargo including fuel throughout its route.  According to INFCA, the Government of Angola requires U.S. standard engines in their locomotives to streamline maintenance.  Fifteen previously delivered Chinese locomotives in Angola have Caterpillar engines.

In February 2020, the government of Angola and Germany signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a surface metro in the city of Luanda. Minister of Transportation Ricardo de Abreu said in July that the first phase – connecting the Port of Luanda with the Kilambia area just outside of Luanda – would cost USD 3 billion and that construction will begin in 2022. Angola will own 30% of the project. It is expected that the light rail system will have 149 kilometers of track and will be built by Siemens Mobility.

In addition, Angola received seven suburban trains out of a total of 10 diesel multiple units (DMU) purchased from Singapore. These trains have a capacity of 700 passengers. Luanda Railways received four trains, Benguela Railway received three and Moçamedes Railway will receive three. It is believed that the purchase of these trains is being financed by China.

Locomotives, Rail Technologies and Equipment

2017

2018

2019

2020

Total Local Production

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Exports

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total Imports

240.3

19.9

25.5

394.8

Imports from the US

 

216

0.9

0.35

69.2

Total Market Size

240.3

12.2

18.5

394.8

Exchange Rates

166

245

365

520

Units: USD millions
Source: United States International Trade Commission and Global Trade Atlas

Leading Sub-Sectors

Rail

  • Signaling and control equipment
  • Railroad maintenance Equipment
  • Passenger carriages
  • Freight and Tank carriages
  • Maintenance and repair parts (wheels, axles, bearings)
  • Maintenance centers and training
  • locomotives for shunting

Opportunities

Rail

The 2021 Angolan national budget allocated USD 90.2 million for the rail sector, which is expected to support the development of the rail sector and economic growth.  To expand the railroad cargo network, the Ministry of Transportation will require passenger, freight, tank carriages, and related operations and maintenance support.   The railroad infrastructure completed by the Chinese Railway Construction Company will require maintenance of the 2,600 km of tracks and accompanying railroad automation controls and signalization.

In recent years, Angolan Ministry of Transportation officials have visited railroad industry representatives in France, Spain and the United States and are eager to build Angolan railroad capacity with private sector participation.  Future Angolan government plans include linking the three railroad lines through the construction of three additional lines, totaling over 10,000 km, but financing has not yet been identified for this project.  A project to connect the Benguela and Moçamedes lines was announced in March 2017 through an agreement with two Russian companies (75% investment by Rail Standard Service and 25% by Fortland Consulting Company).

In December 2015, the Government of Angola launched the Metropolitan Master Plan of Luanda “Luanda 2030,” which entails plans for modernizing the city’s infrastructure to accommodate a population of 13 million projected by that time.  The plan was approved by the current Government on February 28, 2018.  One of the main pillars of the 2030 Luanda masterplan is the transportation sector, with the planned installation of an above ground urban rail system that would include a connection to the new international airport that is under construction. In the past years there was no more news or follow ups around Luanda’s Master Plan.

Resources

  • Ministry of Transportation
  • National Company of Airports Exploration and Air Navigation (ENANA)
  • National Institute of Civil Aviation  
  • TAAG Airlines     
  • Sonair
  • United States International Trade Commission
  • Global Trade Atlas

For information contact:

Mauro Fonseca, Commercial Assistant

U.S. Commercial Service Angola 

Mauro.fonseca@trade.gov

Tel: (+244) 222 641 253

Mob: (+244) 929 667 036