This Man Fired the Board of an Airline When They Cancelled His Flight

Most of us are at the complete mercy of the airlines we fly. When things go wrong I’m a big fan of taking matters into your own hands as much as possible. Know what your alternate flight options are and suggest those instead of relying on airline agents to find you the best flights. Be willing to book alternatives yourself and seek compensation later, including from your credit card company.

At the end of the day though there’s only so much we can do. And if requests for compensation are denied we can only be persistent, or perhaps sue in small claims court where the law frequently being on the side of an airline may not matter as much.

One man though took a different approach.

LAM Mozambique Airlines dates to 1936, established by the Portuguese colonial government. The official language of Mozambique is still Portuguese though it’s spoken primarily as a second language there. The airline hubs in Maputo. Just last year the ban on Mozambique airlines flying to the EU was lifted, so you’d expect things to be looking up.

The carrier, though, is mostly state-owned (with some shares held by employees) and has operated at a self-reported loss for most years this decade. They have half a dozen aircraft including a Boeing 737 and a 757. That’s a far cry from having once operated a 747, DC10, L1011, and 767s.

LAM 767 in 1993, credit: Pedro Aragão

They’ve been suffering financial difficulties, and of course the Mozambique government isn’t as wealthy as some states supporting national carriers. Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world, and per capita GDP is under $600.

This past week the airline cancelled flights because they were unable to pay for fuel. They stranded the country’s prime minister. So he fired the entire board of the airline.

The board of Mozambique’s national airline, LAM, has been sacked after the carrier cancelled flights this week because of financial difficulties that meant it could not pay for fuel, at one point marooning Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario.

State-controlled LAM said it was working to ensure flights resumed on Friday after the government intervention.

While politicians in the U.S. are granted tremendous air travel perks they don’t have the ability to directly remove airline executives — although in fact the US government exercises discretion over what airlines are permitted to fly, including basing that decision on the executives involved in the endeavor. Top executives at all of the major airlines involved in air mail contracts in the early 30s were banned from the industry. Bill Boeing was pushed into early retirement. United’s President even left the country.

Still I think I’d settle for a prompt response to my customer service complaint emails when my flights cancel.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If he had been on AA, he would have never known the reason. Well, I guess he would know the ‘made up’ reason, but that would bear no resemblance to the facts.

  2. If it was AA they would have waited until everybody was at the gate in-line for boarding and then they will announce after the departure time: “oh we have a delay of 15mins but we will get boarding soon”. Then repeat every 20mins for 5 hours and then said: “lol sry we lied we have no fuel, we never intented to fly today”.

  3. I’m at the point, that firing the airline’s board was probably appropriate. Our dictator will soon be doing the same thing.

  4. @johnb – Unless they continue to suck up to him, in which case he will grant them unlimited protection from competition…

  5. Which dictator are you referring to? Yi Xingping? Hugo Chavez? Ergodan?

    You libs use the term “dictator” way too loosely. This is surprising considering the fact that the most-prominent “dictators” the past century leaned left. Y’know – Mao, Hitler, Stalin, etc.

    Last I checked, the US president didn’t assault anyone for openly believing in something, like the chicken-$&@! Antifa folks.

    In other words, shut yur mouth about how the US has a dictator, because having a leader that doesnt jive with your political views doesnt mean he’s a dictator.

  6. Why is the weirdos always have to make everything political? Are they still crying over a lost election?


  7. The reason why the flight was cancelled and even how a Prime Minister or President of this country can fire a whole board just shows the state of this country. Sadly to say a beautiful country and in general a friendly public, but sadly all the management of this country is in shambles.

  8. Hitler was a socialist the Nazis were socialists by definition left leaning NAZI STANDS FOR NATIONAL SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY

  9. John L – you are correct about what “Nazi” seems to stand for, with the word “Socialist” in the title. But if you do your research you’ll find that the title was carefully scripted propaganda to make it sound like the Nazi party was for “the people.” Historians and political scientists consider Nazism a far-right, not left, ideology.

  10. @ David – that’s not 100% true; it would be far more accurate to say “some” historians and political scientists. Many of the facets of the Nazi party are considered far-left. The Nazi were first and foremost socialists. They advocated very tight social and economic control by a big, powerful central government, were violently hostile to those that disagree with their ideology, and in 1933 one of the very first acts Hitler did was to legalize abortion in Germany. And just like the far left in the US, the Nazis declared an all out war against Christianity.

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