ZAMBIA’s national airline is set to be registered once the Government has appointed a board of directors, National Airline Project lead consultant Weston Mapani has said.
Mr Mapani said all was set for the re-establishment of the Zambia national airline except for the registration of the company and the availability of operation funds amounting to US$300 million.
He said this at the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) public discussion forum on the re-flotation of Zambia Airways in Lusaka on Tuesday.
Mr Mapani said the registration of the company would only be done after the appointment of the board of directors by the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications.
Once the company was registered, the national airline would be operational within four to five months.
“Everything has been done to ensure that the national airline is re-established, what is left is the registration of the company and this can only be done after the board and management of the airline is appointed and $300 million operating fund is sourced,” Mr Mapani said.
He said the formation of the national airline would boost the Zambian tourism sector because tourists would be flown directly to their
desired destinations thereby boosting tourist arrivals for the country.
Mr Mapani said the move would enable the country increase non-traditional exports (NTEs) and foreign exchange earnings.
The birth of a national airline would further mean more employment
creation and increased contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) through foreign exchange earnings which would in turn, strengthen the Kwacha against other international currencies.
He said about 515 staff would be employed in the first year of operation increasing to 2,100 in the tenth year of operation.
Aviation industry Expert Jacob Chisela said a national Airline was an economic enabler which provided direct and indirect economic benefits and jobs.
Mr Chisela said the national airline also provided high quality careers training and permanent professional occupations.
He added that financing national airlines was not unusual but should be monitored and controlled, advising Government against borrowing money for the re-establishment of the airline but should instead find a partner.
Government is in the process of re-establishing the national airline that will operate on domestic, regional and later intercontinental routes.
Government in June 2013 appointed a Technical Committee whose mandate among others, was to prepare a Business Plan for the formation of the national airline.
The Business Plan was ready, presented and approved by Government in April 2014.