British Airways has announced that it has suspened its three times a week service from London Heathrow to Lusaka with effect from 27th October 2013.
In a statement, the airline says the flights are being suspended because they don’t make a profitable contribution to its business.
It said British Airways is always reviewing its route network to ensure it is in line with the needs of its customers.
Customers booked to fly with British Airways after 25th and 26th October 2013 will be offered a full refund or can alternatively be re-booked onto flights to/ from Johannesburg, Nairobi or Entebbe.
“We remain fully committed to Africa and will continue to serve East Africa with a daily service to Nairobi and a thrice weekly service to Entebbe, increasing to four times a week from the start of the summer schedule 2014,” it said.
It added that its franchise partner, Comair will continue to offer daily flights from Johannesburg to Livingstone, Zambia.
And Commenting on the suspension, Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) Managing Director Felix Chaila expressed disappointment that the decision has come just after Zambia and Zimbabwe co-hosted the prestigious United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly.
Mr. Chaila said in an interview in Lusaka today that the move will adversely affect the inflow of tourists coming to Zambia.
He said ZTB was mobilizing other stakeholders to persuade BA to stay and continue servicing the route.
He said the London-Lusaka flights were a traditional route hence stakeholders were not happy about the withdrawal.
Mr. Chaila is particularly sad that the suspension of the BA direct flights between London and Lusaka comes after Zambia was declared winner of the African nomination of the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Vettor Giusti poster competition.
And several stakeholders and economic analysts interviewed said the move may lead to a loss of revenue and other social benefits to this country.
Early this year, British Airways (BA) pulled its flight services between London-Heathrow and Tanzania’s capital city of Dar es Salaam because it was not performing well from a commercial perspective after almost four decades of flight services to that country.
BA, which is among the long-serving European-registered airlines, suspended its service from London’s Heathrow Airport to Dar es Salaam, and closed its business in Tanzania on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013.