On April 28, the U.S Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced a grant funding for a study into the feasibility of developing a new airline for the Timor-Leste region.
The basic plan for the new airline is it will serve the Timor Leste’s Oe-Cusse Ambeno exclave. In addition, the project will aim to bolster the country’s connection to destinations across the Southeast Asia region as well as around the world.
The company carrying out the study for the USTDA’s grantee, will be Alton Aviation Consultancy, based in New York.
USTDA Director Enoh T. Ebong said, “Airlines are a crucial link for connecting people and markets and enhancing economic growth, especially in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands”.
He added, “Our Partnership with Timor Leste will support the development of one of its most important infrastructure priorities in a sector where U.S companies have so much to offer in terms of expertise and technology”.
Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno
The Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno is a 315 square mile coastal exclave located in the western part of the island of Timor.
At present its international airport has one daily flight to and from Dili, Timor Leste capital city, carrying about 20 passengers a day.
All in all, the total number of international flights from Timor Leste remains in just the single digits, which shows two important points: it is one of the least connected markets in the Southeast Asia region and it is in need of growth in order to connect it more with the world.
With this in mind, this shows why such a study for a new airline is now underway to make this growth a reality.
The objective of USTDA’s study is to go deeper into determining how a new airline could operate from the region.
Focus areas will include establishing an airline that will improve the overall passenger and cargo traffic for Oe-Cusso Ambeno and Timor Leste.
The study will also reveal a detailed business case for the new airline, including reviewing Timor Leste’s current and potential aviation market.
Furthermore, the study will look into how ownership will work, general operational models and route and aircraft fleet strategy.
As for the business case, the final results will produce a financial model based off two different ownership structures, which will help determine the best strategy in this field.
Arsénio Paixão Bano, President of the Special Administrative Region of Oé-Cusse Ambeno said: “The Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse Ambeno was created to promote inclusive development for its people.”
“This goal is enhanced through a national program called Special Zones of Social Market Economy of Timor Leste, which provides us special legal provisions to advance socio economic activities that promote the quality of life and well being of our community. This includes aviation.”
“Air connectivity to regional markets and around Timor Leste is simultaneously a requirement and an opportunity for the Special Zone in Oe Cusse. Our partnership with USTDA is so valuable because it will help make this priority a reality”.
Overall, this feasibility study forms a part of USTDA’s U.S-Southeast Asia and Pacific Aviation Cooperation Program. The company works with aviation stakeholders in the regions to help design new programs that promote civil aviation.