Zambia wants to form a airline this year to boost tourism and has received interest from potential partners in Europe, the U.S., Africa and the Middle East, Transport Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said in an interview today.
The new national carrier will probably fly locally and to neighboring countries as well as on one or two longer routes including London, Mukanga said by mobile phone from Livingstone, near the Victoria Falls.
“Our basis will be to look at tourism and ensure that this airline will concentrate on tourism,” Mukanga said.
The government’s plans in Africa’s biggest copper producer come after its last carrier, Zambia Airways, went bankrupt in 1994. President Michael Sata’s government has nursed the idea of a new airline since coming to power in 2011. British Airways in October stopped flying to Lusaka, the capital of the land-locked country, because the route was loss-making, according to the airline.
African airlines will probably make $100 million in profits this year after losses of the same size in 2013, according to a December forecast from the International Air Transport Association. Air travel within the continent is underdeveloped because of difficulty in market access, according to the Montreal, Canada-based industry body.
“The airline industry is not a simple industry, you need to be on top of issues,” Mukanga said.
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