The European Union may soon lift the ban on Zambian registered airplanes from flying into European airspace following the successful resolution of significant safety concerns.
The development now means that the Zambian government can engage the EU over the possible removal of the EU ban.
Transport, Communications and Works Minister Christopher Yaluma made the revelations during a media briefing this afternoon.
“This is good news for us as a country. For the past three years, no Zambian planes have been flying to the European airspace but this is a crucial step towards lifting that ban,” Mr. Yaluma said.
In 2009, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had conducted an audit on the Zambian civil aviation sector which revealed 98 findings including one significant safety concern.
The significant safety concern was a result of non-compliance to the five phase air operator certification process which ICAO had introduced to ensure that operators applying for air service permits complied with international safety requirements.
Mr. Yaluma said the development is a crucial step towards the removal of Zambia from the ICAO safety watch list and subsequently from the EU ban list.
He expressed optimism that the department of civil aviation will be able to maintain standards and recommended practices demanded by the Convention on Civil Aviation and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
“The Zambian department of Civil Aviation has been engaged with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, through mutually developed corrective action plans detailing how the findings and the significant safety concerns were being addressed step by step through correspondence and exchanging electronic data.”
He added, “Prior to the validation mission, both parties were satisfied that the issues leading to the significant safety concern and other safety related findings were adequately addressed.”