GOVERNMENT has intensified efforts to re-establish a national airline to help boost the country’s tourism sector.
Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Yamfwa Mukanga said a committee set up for the re-establishment of a national carrier has come up with recommendations which have since been taken to Cabinet for approval.
Mr Mukanga said in Lusaka yesterday that the absence of a national airline has negatively affected the development of tourism, non-traditional exports and other industries that rely on tourism.
“There is a lot of commitment towards the re-establishment of a national airline. The ministry has tabled the recommendations to Cabinet for approval and once this is done, we will go ahead to establish the national airline.
“As a ministry, we want to assure the nation that the establishment of a national airline for Zambia is underway,” he said.
Mr Mukanga said some big international airlines have expressed interest to partner with Zambia on the re-introduction of a national airline.
The minister, who declined to name the airlines as the matter was yet to be tabled before Cabinet, said some big international carriers are keen to partner with the country so that they could paint their planes in Zambian colours and employ local people.
He said other airlines are also interested in buying or financing the purchase of new planes for the country.
Mr Mukanga said government has learnt many lessons in the past and hence Cabinet will assess all the options on the table and come up with the best decision on behalf of the Zambian people.
Mr Mukanga further said many countries have expressed willingness to help Zambia re-establish a national airline.
He said his ministry is also doing feasibility studies to determine how much it will cost government to re-establish a national airline.
The minister said government is working hard to reposition Zambia as an air transport regional hub.