ETHIOPIAN Airlines is considering turning Lusaka into its East and Southern Africa hub. Company Senior Vice President for Global Sales Esaya Woldemariam Hailu said the Lusaka was chosen as the hub because of its central location.
Mr Hailu said the airline had engaged the Zambian Government on its overtures and that talks were at an advanced stage.
“That’s a big plan that Ethiopian has been discussing with the top leadership in Zambia,” he said during a briefing at the airlines main hub here.
Lusaka will become Ethiopian Airline’s third hub on the continent after the main hun Addis Ababa and Lome in Togo.
Mr Hailu said the airline was the fastest growing in Africa and that the growth should be reflected in creating another hub.
“Ethiopian doesn’t only connect Africa to the world and the world to Africa but also connects Africa within itself,” he added.
Meanwhile, the airline is weighing options of opening a new route from Addis Ababa-Livingstone to add to flights to Lusaka and Ndola.
Administrative manager for East and Southern Africa Shawui Geneti said opening a direct flight to Livingstone would however depend on the availability of passengers on the route.
“Already we have the new route to Ndola which at the moment is not doing very well but Livingstone is a route we will consider,” he said.
Livingstone has recorded a sharp increase in passenger traffic to Harry Mwanga Nkumbula airport and more arrivals are expected when Zambia co-hosts the United Nations World Tourism Orgnisation (UNWTO) general assembly later this year.
On increasing the frequency of flights into Ndola, Mr Geneti said it is an option worth trying out but most unlikely with the current passenger turn over on the route.
Some of the travel consultants visiting the airline’s Addis hub from the Copperbelt and Lusaka complained of the difficulty in issuing tickets for some Ethiopian Airlines code partners.