Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) president Dr Chrispin Mphuka says subletting Zambia Airways to another organization may not be the most viable option.
Last week, a former Zambia Airways pilot Alick Sakala said the national airline only had a 10 percent chance of succeeding.
Sakala revealed that the Malawian Airways, which was also in partnership with the Ethiopian airline, had never seen any dividends since its establishment in 2013.
Commenting on Sakala’s remarks in an interview, Dr Mphuka urged government to take precautions.
“If the chances are that we may not succeed, its better for government to take all precautions and see how best to move forward. Already, some airlines are struggling and if the experts in the industry are saying the strategy we have is not the right strategy, I think its just good that in this initial phase, government takes a more consultative role to ensure that we put a structure that will minimise costs and try to be sustainable in the medium, to long term. We don’t want to start by making losses or not having to grow as you plan. So those are some of the aspects,” Dr Mphuka said.
“We had a discussion as EAZ which emphasized on the same things that it will be better to establish this airline so that its a much more robust airline in terms of moving forward. The experts keep saying [that] the current setup is not the best setup. And most of the people in that meeting also emphasized that if we want to run this, let it be run on commercial lines but don’t just sublet it to some organisation or some country because maybe its not [the] most viable option,” he said.
Dr Mphuka said government should adopt the best model possible which would benefit Zambians.
“So I think it is important that government looks at all options on the table before they can go for a particular model. I know discussions are in an advanced stage but if there are signs that something may not work, then its best that government takes a back seat and tries to adopt the best model possible which will guarantee benefits to the people of Zambia, like what the minister said. And improve industries like tourism which are suffering because of lack of sufficient air linkage,” said Dr Mphuka.