Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba says that the date for the launch of the much-hyped national airline had been extended to early next year, to allow for the certification and registration processes to be completed.
Mushimba disclosed this when he rendered a Ministerial statement to Parliament, Thursday, where he explained that the certification and registration process of the national airline was ongoing.
“Mr Speaker, as you may be aware, government is establishing the national airline with the Ethiopian Airways as a strategic partner. When established, the national airline will operate purely on commercial principles without government or political interference in its operations. Mr Speaker, government through IDC, is in the process of appointing a board of directors for the national airline, which is currently being vetted by various government wings to determine their suitability to serve on the board. Soon after the board is formally appointed, it will immediately appoint the chief executive officer and other top management staff,” Mushimba said.
“Mr Speaker, the airline top management shall recruit support staff and commence to build systems for operationalization the airline, including certification and registration of the national airline equipment. The certification and registration process will take a minimum of 116 days from the day the CEO for the national airline lodges the application papers for the air operator certificate to the Civil Aviation Authority. Mr Speaker, concurrently, certification is ongoing and the national airline management team will recruit and train the air crew, ground handling staff, marketing and aircraft maintenance staff. Given the time it will take to complete the national airline certification and registration process, we can safely say that the launch of our national airline will take place in the first quarter of 2019. We will inform this House and the nation at large on the exact date once the board is constituted and management put in place.”
He also disclosed that the national airline will create 500 direct jobs once launched.
And Mushimba said government had also signed bilateral air service agreements with other countries in order to create a mutually-beneficial framework that would allow easy movement of airlines into Zambia from various destinations across the globe.
“Government has signed bilateral air service agreements with other countries in order to create a mutually-beneficial framework that will allow easy movement of airlines into Zambia from various destinations across the globe. The bilateral air service agreement will also allow seamless passage of Zambia Airways into various countries that we’ve signed the bursas with. In the recent past, government has also signed bursas with the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the Republic of Turkey. Following the signing of the bilateral agreement with the government of Turkey, the Turkish Airline will commence commercial flights into Lusaka from Istanbul within the last quarter of this year,” narrated Mushimba.
“In terms of our readiness for Turkish Airlines to commence flight operations, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has since submitted to the Turkish Airlines the necessary requirements for the certification to commence operations into Lusaka. Turkish Airlines has indicated commencing two flights into Lusaka per week from Istanbul.”