TRANSPORT and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says it is difficult for government to determine when Zambia Airways 2014 limited will be launched.

And Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) director general Gabriel Lesa says the Authority lost about $5 million in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Speaking when he toured CAA offices, Kafwaya said the Zambia Airways 2014 Limited was not a government undertaking which made it hard for government to determine when the operation of the company would be launched.

“The Zambia Airways 2014 Limited is not a GRZ undertaking, if it was a department in the Ministry of Transport I would give you the schedule, that this is our plan. Zambia Airways 2014 Limited is a company that has been formed by one company in Zambia, the other one is Ethiopia, so this is a joint venture between Ethiopian Airlines and IDC. IDC we all know is a parastatal kind of company owned by Zambians. This is why most people mistake Zambia Airways like a GRZ company, it is not. It is two companies coming together and putting resources together to launch an undertaking,” Kafwaya said.

“So, it is very difficult for government to determine when the company is going to launch because we don’t have direct control. What we have to do as government, we have already done. Everything that we needed to do as a government, we have already done. From our end, we have done everything. So for us I think we have a chief executive officer for Zambia Airways, he should be able to establish when, but we cannot not. But, we will be happy for Zambia Airways to fly again, this is why we have done all the things that we have done. So, it is not up to us in other words.”

Kafwaya said PF had transformed the aviation sector.

“The things I have heard here are quite thought provoking. The progress including the challenges you face show me clearly that we are a very important institution. I am also delighted for the progress that while there are all these challenges as have been established, inspite of them we have made so much progress. We need to be sharing this information and I am speaking to you chief executive officer. I see there is the media here. If the media is availed the chance to gain an understanding of how much progress we have made those political people will not be saying PF has done nothing. I don’t know if anyone can come here and hear what I have heard today and still insist that PF has done nothing,” said Kafwaya.

“I have been told here that in 2009 there was a significant safety issue which led to the banning of our air space. I am being told here that it is only in 2015 that this was resolved and I go back a little only to find who was sitting as President, which government was in power. You have to look at both 2009 and 2015, today we are opened up to the world. In fact you boast of having certified KKIA isn’t it? That means there is something happening in our time. That means that the leadership of Edgar Chagwa Lungu is making significant contributions to our country which must be appreciated. This can only become clear if we share the information with the media and the media are able to spread this good news. Even the legal framework which established the Civil Aviation Authority, who were instrumental in resolving this significant safety issue, also only happened in the PF government. In 2012 that is when this act came into being. These significant resolutions during PF. I am saying so because I am PF and I am happy for the progress you have made.”

And Lesa said the Authority had lost about $5 million in 2020.

“In 2020 I think we lost something like $5 million, that is the customer safety charge which is about 85 percent of our revenue. Then from our fees, fines and other charges like licences, log books and other things. So in terms of legal framework in Zambia we are right up to the point, where in terms we have updated in terms of international standard in civil aviation. We have a number of inspectors and they are qualified and they are internationally now acclaimed. Sadly, we are even having international organisations poaching from ourselves like Qatar has stolen one from ourselves. One of our young ladies has also been taken, an aeronautical engineer has also been taken by the UN. So you have a cadre of staff who are very qualified and very able,” said Lesa.

“In terms of our achievements, in terms of performance for the first time since independence Zambia managed to actually implement international standards to the tune of 62.02 percent, that was in 2016 after the ICAO audit. We brought Zambia above the world average which then was 60 percent. Later on the EU which had placed Zambia on the Euro ban came to do a validation mission and they were surprised to find that Zambia had progressed very well in addressing the root causes that gave rise to the significant safety concern which was recorded in 2009 as well as other findings which were recorded in Zambia. In June 2016 the EU actually lifted the EU ban on Zambia.”