The Portuguese airline EuroAtlântico presented the Timorese government with a proposal for a monthly charter flight between Lisbon and Dili, at least during the Covid-19 pandemic, the company’s director told Lusa.
“There is a possibility in the market, due to the pandemic and there are no connections from East Timor to Europe and Lisbon. In the short term we can come here once a month, on a ‘charter’ system, bringing people and cargo from Lisbon to Dili,” said Mário Alvim, EuroAtlântico’s director and chief pilot.
“The Timorese government has shown openness, a proposal from EuroAtlântico has been presented to the government which will now be analyzed by the Ministry of Transport to see if there is any possibility of this happening,” he explained.
Mário Alvim was speaking to Lusa at Nicolau Lobato Airport, in Dili, from where he left today at the command of a Boeing B767-300ER which on Sunday traveled from Lisbon to the Timorese capital with more than 200 passengers, mostly Portuguese and Timorese.
The plane, which today returns to Lisbon with more than 50 passengers, also mostly Timorese and Portuguese, was organized to eliminate the lack of air connections to East Timor due to the pandemic.
Taking advantage of his presence in Dili, Mário Alvim met with Timorese government officials to present a proposal for the monthly flight, which could stop over in another country before arriving in Dili.
“The two Governments have to get involved because the cost of the flight is very high. We have to find a way for the two governments to unite efforts to make this flight profitable”, he underlined.
“A monthly flight would be excellent until the pandemic passes. This plane can bring passengers and cargo and that advantage is great. It can bring 32 tons of ‘payload’ [cargo] with a stop or two maximum,” he said.
Alvim recalled that operating a 20-hour flight between the two countries is an “expensive” operation that can only be justified with enough passengers or with the willingness of the governments of Portugal and East-Timor.