The Zambian Government is consulting renowned airlines to get experience as it looks for an equity partner to set up a national airline. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga said Government is still looking for a partner in the establishment of a national flag carrier. Mr Mukanga said in an interview recently that running an airline industry is not an easy thing, hence the need by Government to enquire from firms that have been in the aviation sector for long. He said Government will not sit idle but keep on working towards the introduction of an effective airline that can contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth.
Recently, Government sent a delegation to the Middle East state of Qatar to consult on how it can help Zambia set up a national airline and a become a central hub in passenger and cargo traffic. He said Government has learnt a lot of lessons from the defunct Zambia Airways that collapsed a few years ago including other international airlines that are not operating. “We have visited Boeing, Airbus and now the Qatar government to ask them if they can consider Zambia and come on board for the establishment of an airline and a hub. We want to partner with big players so that we lessen the high capital costs of establishing the airline.
“We know how to run an airline – we ran Zambia Airways … [although] it went down. This time around we don’t want to make the same mistake like we did with Zambia Airways,” Mr Mukanga said. The minister said if Zambia becomes a central hub, it will help sustain economic development and help boost the aviation and tourism sectors. He said Zambia has a geographical advantage over most African countries hence this could benefit the country from trade that will be passing through the airport.
“The mission to Qatar was to see whether they can set up a hub here in Central Africa because our position is that if Zambia was a central hub, then everybody else will try to feed in and out of the country … it will be very good for us because I believe if we make Zambia a hub then transport and cost of doing business will be reduced,” he said. Mr Mukanga, however, said he is yet to get a full report from the team that went to Qatar. “They just came back and they will be giving us an update on what they discussed because we are asking from our cooperating partners – those who would want to come on board and help us,” he said.