Boeing 747 MSN 19746 leased to Zambia Airways and delivered on 29 Sep 1988 with registration number N603FF. Details http://www.planesregister.com/aircraft/b747-19746.htm
Boeing 747 MSN 19746 leased to Zambia Airways and delivered on 29 Sep 1988 with registration number N603FF. Details http://www.planesregister.com/aircraft/b747-19746.htm

By Kalima Nkonde

The motivation behind this analysis on the planned National Airline arises from the recent Auditor General’s report stating that Zamtel made massive losses of K50.6million ($7.8m) in 2011 and K224million ($34.5m) in 2012 and concluded that the company is technically insolvent requiring further capitalization by the Government, the only shareholder. In addition, the Minister of transport and communication, Yamfwa Mukanga gave an interview to ZNBC TV on 16 March, 2015 where he indicated that the Cabinet is still considering the national airline project. He further talked about it on 28 March,2015 on the launch of Rwandaair Proflight code share flight to Johannesburg. This analysis, therefore, is meant to warn the President Lungu that the dreamers of the national airline in the ministry of transport and communications, Zambia Air force and their supporters should not mislead him into believing that the national airline is in national economic interest. He should think carefully before embarking on a disastrous route as the losses that the airline will sustain will make Zamtel losses look like loose change.

It is important for the reader to understand that the whole issue of establishing the national airline was politically motivated by the late President, Michael Sata whose modus operandi to economic management was based on wishes, sentiment, populism and not rational and informed economic decision making. Despite being part of the Government that abolished Zambia airways in the first place, he wanted to re-establish it and so one would beg to ask: what has changed? To kick start the project, instead of commissioning an independent feasibility study to carry out an objective analysis of the Costs and benefits of re-establishing a national airline, the President appointed a large technical committee made up of unemployed former Zambia airways staff, the Zambia air force, civil servants from ministries of transport, Commerce, finance, tourism. They operated without a budget or a formal structure in terms of a special purpose vehicle through which they could have been operating in. To circumvent funding issues, the Zambia Air force was to play a leading role and was required to provide funds for meetings, allowances etc! The influence of the Air force in a civilian Commercial project is mind boggling especially given the accident record of Zambia Air force.

There was so much day dreaming like recommending Boeing 777 without regard to the cost, the training of crew etc and the focus was on international routes like London when Zambia was on the EU black list.

There is also the difference in the operational paradigm of a Commercial airline and the Military! It is common knowledge that if they had started with the feasibility study, it would have answered a lot of questions including why Zambia airways and other national airlines fail, costs and benefits of the project-tangible and intangible, the recommended business model, benchmark airlines, the route network and so on and persuaded them to abandon project early. The approach that the President followed was flawed from the beginning and it amounted to doing the same thing all over again – restarting Zambia airways – and expecting a different result.

It was also a question of the blind leading the blind as no proper independent and experienced experts were involved in the technical committee.There was so much day dreaming like recommending Boeing 777 without regard to the cost, the training of crew etc and the focus was on international routes like London when Zambia was on the EU black list. It is alleged that the boss had instructed the team that he did not want a “Kantemba” Airline forgetting that it took Zambia airways years to grow to where it was when it was disbanded in 1994. Successful businesses are not started big!

it is a well known fact in aviation circles that the national airline business model is a discredited and failed business model

It should be noted that it is a well known fact in aviation circles that the national airline business model is a discredited and failed business model. Anybody who understands the aviation industry or who can carry out an objective and indepth analysis will come out with the same answer that the national airline in the traditional sense is not a viable proposition. The IMF and World Bank have not been in support of the project at all. Most Governments that continue running national airlines are doing so because there are stuck with them. In neighbouring countries, South African Airways, Air Namibia, Air Botswana, Air Zimbabwe, TAAG of Angola are all loss making and a burden to their treasury.

The South African Government has bailed out the national airline SAA in the last two years to keep it afloat and cumulatively the Government financial commitments amount to R14.3 billion and the Government has that stated it can no longer continue with the bail outs. Air Botswana(AB) has been bailed out several times and that Country president, General Khama said in 2013 that they will continue bailing it out because they can afford it and their privatization efforts have failed. As a small and rich country, AB is a source of national pride as a small and even if it is not financially justified.

There is no doubt that most African countries that have National airlines are just stuck with these airlines and cannot close them because of the dire consequences

According to the SAA Chief Executive, Nico Bezuidohout, as reported by Sunday Times of 22 February, 2015, the Airline made losses of R1.6billion in 2012/13 financial year on international routes. There is no doubt that most African countries that have National airlines are just stuck with these airlines and cannot close them because of the dire consequences like the resulting unemployment similar to what Zambia went through in 1994 when Zambia airways was liquidated.

In some cases, like in Botswana, Namibia and Angola, they have deep pockets from diamonds and oil and they maintain them for national pride despite the drain on their Treasury. Running and owning a national airline by Government in modern times is like being in an unhappy marriage and the parties are just forced to be together because of the children or other compelling reasons!

On his recent visit to Zambia in December, 2015, Sir Richard Branson – the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways – clearly pointed out that Governments have no business in running airlines! According to Sir Branson, “Governments are not good at running companies. There are a lot of opportunities in Zambia for businesses to expand and I think those businesses should be done by Zambians rather than people like myself. It would be great to get Zambian entrepreneurs on setting up a low cost airline and may be we can help a bit…..” Who better to listen to than the Entrepreneur extraordinaire himself! There are numerous countries that have abandoned the running of national airlines among them the UK government which divested its majority shareholding in British Airways in the 1980s, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigerian, Ugandan, DRC, Malawi and others have also done the same.

The Tanzanian Government learnt the hard way when it attempted to re- launch Air Tanzania after the break up of the Partnership with South African Airways. The Tanzanian Government like the proponents of National airline in Zambia are trying to do partnered with a foreign strategic equity partner. They partnered with China Sonagol international holdings which held 49% shares and the Government held 51%. China Sonagol procured obsolete aircraft – Dash 8 300 and A 320-214- in collusion with corrupt Government officials from a Lebanese leasing company. The Dash 8 crashed and the airline collapsed but the Government was left with a $200 million bill in lease charges!

The real motivation behind the national airline by those driving the project is employment, the nostalgia of flying free

The proponents of the National Airline argue that it will promote tourism, trade and investment but this is a fallacy and it is not really proven especially that they do not match these perceived benefits against the cost to the economy of the national airline in terms of Government subsidies, re-capitalisation and so on and so forth. The real motivation behind the national airline by those driving the project is employment, the nostalgia of flying free or subsidized to London and other European countries, the convenience to the Party in power to fly around the country including for political campaigns, national pride of having a national airline despite the cost.

My main argument against the re-establishment of the national airline is that it is not the best way of using the scarce tax kwachas as the project will not benefit the majority of Zambians whether directly or indirectly. The beneficiaries to such an airline will be: the aircraft manufacturers, Aircraft leasing companies, the Zambia air force staff who want commercial pilot licenses on retirement, the politically connected, unemployed former Zambia airways employees, Government officials who will fly on credit and build up debt for the airline.

There is no doubt that such an airline will have all the ingredients of failed national airlines which include a blotted workforce, over paid staff, low productivity by staff including crew like pilots, appointment of incompetent managers who are mainly party cadres, imprudent acquisition of aircraft, acquisition wrong aircraft, political interference and abuse of the national carrier by politicians, overcapacity (too many airplanes for too few routes). Neighbouring national airlines such as South African airways, Air Namibia, Air Botswana, and Air Zimbabwe all suffer from some of the above weaknesses in varying degrees and that is why there are loss making and a drain on their treasury! I cannot be convinced that this will not happen to the envisaged national airline.

There is no argument about the fact that Zambia has a problem with air transportation especially for local air travel which is too expensive as Proflight is a monopoly. The solution is not to bring in foreign controlled airlines such as Fastjet as there will be a drain on foreign exchange in terms of externalizing of royalties, management fees and dividends. The negative impact on foreign exchange will result it being a net cost and not a net benefit to the economy.

Fastjet has claimed that it is 51% owned by Zambians which is a mirage as effective control lies with London. This is clearly a case of fronting! It will be interesting to lift the corporate veil with regard to share holding and voting rights of Fastjet Zambia. Fastjet’s entry into Zambia as local airline raised a lot of eyebrows in the aviation cycles in Zambia and South Africa. It is alleged that the former Vice President, Dr. Guy Scott facilitated their getting of the Air Service Permit (ASP) license immediately after President Sata died, the architect of the national airline project. The granting of the license to Fastjet immediately after the death of President Sata was really a strange coincidence! It is alleged according to an article on social media last year that the license was obtained through instructions from the top and normal procedures were not followed.

This assertion is supported by the way Fastjet wanted to enter South Africa. They got into a deal with the BlockBuster/Federal airline joint venture in which President Jacob Zuma’s son was part of the team. The deal fell through as regulators could not approve it. In Tanzania, it is alleged they used political connections to enter the market. One may conclude that Fastjet’s strategy in Africa is to woodwink and sweet talk politicians about the benefits of them entering the African aviation market because politicians do not understand much about aviation. In Zambia, it is believed that Fastjet duped regulators that it will be a domestic Carrier when its major target is the lucrative South Africa route. The reason for this is that the aircraft they have, the A319 can only fly to Ndola, Livingstone and Lusaka and Mfuwe. The rest of Zambia will not benefit from Fastjet’s their entry into the Zambian domestic market as they cannot land in Mansa, Solwezi, Chipata, Mongu, Kasama.

In Zambia, it is believed that Fastjet duped regulators that it will be a domestic Carrier when its major target is the lucrative South Africa route.

There is no doubt that Fastjet will be making artificial losses for a long time just like some mines have been doing through transfer pricing schemes and they will not pay any income tax for the foreseeable future. It must be known that the “Fastjet” brand is owned by the Greek British citizen Stelious Haji-Ioannou, the founder of Easyjet. His strategy was for the EasyJet group to get Royalties through the use of the “Fastjet brand in Africa. It follows that Easyjet will receive royalties regardless of whether Fastjet makes profit or not as Royalties are levied on revenue! The fact that Fastjet Aircraft will be leased and not owned also means lease charges will be externalized thereby making profitability almost impossible for the foreseeable future. In Tanzania, they have not made any profits since they started operations and I guess millions of dollars have already been remitted to UK from Tanzania but the treasury has received little. One of the reasons they closed the Angola office was the difficulty of remitting foreign exchange. The business model and structure of Fastjet is not beneficial to Africa in the medium term.

Although I have been critical of the establishment of the National airline and as well as multinationals like Fastjet masquerading as domestic Zambian airlines, I still believe that our aviation sector needs to grow and develop. It needs to be more vibrant and competitive but it should be driven by the Zambian private sector with minima Government support. If countries like South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria Kenya have home grown airlines and the fares are affordable because of competition, why can’t we not do it in Zambia?

The current position where to travel locally by air is so expensive because you have Proflight who are a virtual monopoly with the typical monopoly behavior of restricting output (small aircraft) and charging exorbitant fares is not good for the industry and the country. In addition, at regional level, there is no Zambian Carrier utilizing reciprocal arrangements with our neighbours and this is also not sustainable.

My proposed solution is for the Government to consider a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and team up with credible local aviation entrepreneurs to slowly and prudently establish the National Flag Carrier using Kenya Airways and Mauritian Airways as benchmarks. Kenyan Government shares are below 20% and Mauritian Government has about 15% in Mauritian Airways. The Government should have minimum shareholding for credibility of the airline in the financial market and the travelling public but effective control should entirely be the private sector as it is with Kagem.

In view of this, I would suggest that Government ask indigenous Zambian entrepreneurs who have run airlines or attempted to run airlines like Zambian airways, Zambezi airlines, Mahogany, Mukuba Airlines, Kafue Airline, Zam Air and others to make proposals for a PPP and they can then choose one to work with.

Zambian Government should identify and encourage Zambian entreprenuers in aviation.

Zambian Government should identify and encourage Zambian entreprenuers in aviation. David Neeleman has Azul in Brazil, Tony Fernandes has Air Asia in Malaysia, Eric Ventor founded Kulula.com and runs Comair in South Africa, Richard Branson has Virgin Antlantic and the list goes on. Its time Zambian government encouraged Zambian to participated in high values in industries like mines, telecoms, power, aviation etc if we are not continue being blackmailed like the mines have done four times now! They won on Windfall tax, on Statutory instrument monitoring inflows and outflows of foreign exchange, VAT S18 and now Royalty tax. The Government curved in after threats by the mines and they restricted supply of dollars so that the kwacha depreciates! It is time our politicians understood Foreign investment alone never developed a country!

It is hoped that the analysis will help the Government make an informed and objective decision. The establishment of the majority Government owned national airline is an expensive exercise and pursuing it with vigour is tantamount to misplaced priorities. In the event the Government wants to be involved in aviation given the failure rates of previously Zambian privately owned airline, the PPP route with Zambian aviation entrepreneurs especially those with international experience would be the smart way to go.

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50 COMMENTS

    • Great article on LT in a long time. Definitely, can’t agree more. The National Airline is just a national pride myth and totally a drain on our small and struggling economy.

      Why not use the money they are trying to set up a national airline with to improve all our Airports..ALL of them a an eye sore. I think there is money and industries to be created by turning Zambia into a Hub for All airlines, just like Singapore has done because of their centyral location and their Airport alone rakes in over 2 billion dollars into their govt coffers. We can make Zambia the same and take advantage of Great weather all year round and central local and setup a trully International Airport Hub

      Please drop this national airline nonsense. What we need is world class mega airports infrastructure.

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    • Nice article though I disagree with you on some issues. Airline if well / professionally managed with proper vision, can contribute to the economy of the country. Look at Dubai. 20 years down the line, Emirates contribute 30% of the GDP with tourism sky rocking.

      Yes if Zambians wants to bring airlines the likes of South African Airways, and many that you mentioned, then don’t go there. But even Ethiopia has done so well with their carrier??

      Fact is that we should be unique, different and let the Private sector run it. You might argue that Middle East airlines do well because of cheap Fuel?? Not true, it is the management, low cost and innovation.

      So instead on criticizing? contribute to a working plan, instead of complaining, Complement and let us be innovative as Zambians

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    • You guys are not serious. Zambians have been found to be the second most undernourished nation in the world and yet you want to start borrowing money for a national airline. Ok, the launch of Rwandair ni zimya neighbour but don’t worry about that and deal with what affects average citizens positively. Yaba!

      And, @THE PRINCE, please don’t give us false information. What do you mean “Emirates contribute 30% of the GDP with tourism sky rocking”. Yes, tourism revenue is rising but it’s not more than 10% of GDP in the UAE.

      In short, please help the poor starving and dying people before you start shining with a costly airline. Hospitals, clinics, schools, drains, SMEs etc. That is where our energies should be.

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    • @PRINCE
      Yes Emirates and the rest of the “johnny come lately” airlines are a success due to the fact that they are big airlines run with an almost flat management structure of a small company but also partly because of the cheap fuel incentives they enjoy from their oil rich shareholders (they wont admit it ) and they enjoy unrestricted night flying into their bases ie. Dubai International Airport…whilst their competitors are parked due to restrictions they are allowed to fly in and out. That there in itself is a great competitive advantage.

      The fact is we DONT need an airline its an unnecessary expense likened to buying a Ferrari when you are renting property. The talk of promoting tourism is hogwash as Tanzania without an airline does more to promote that country than our ZTB.

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    • Was looking for headline in post newspaper to say,

      ” Mumembe and Nchito in deep waters over DBZ loan .”

      or Mumembe and Nchito in shi.t over DBZ Loan !

      alas there is nothing , even when the date of hearing has been set.

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    • @ Jay Jay: Facts are, Middle East airlines the Emirates, Etihad & Qatar. are very successful not because of fuel. remember they fly everywhere and buy fuel at the rates / negotiate with suppliers?? Not that their share holders influence.

      About Management? whats wrong with having a flat management? if your aim is to over employee relatives, then we have failed.

      What is key to success to airlines I mentioned, is less operational costs. so let Zambians learn from that. why did Zambia Airways go? same rubbish of unnecessary unions and over employment with high costs. we have to change.

      If well management, the airline would help and position Zambia better. so never be negative, think positively because we have to start from somewhere..

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    • @Prince
      You seem not to get my point…I’m not stating that Emirates success has been wholly based on cheap fuel from their oil rich government shareholders in the form of fuel subsidies but that has helped …having an almost flat management structure is big plus on its own as it cuts costs and makes it easier for decisions to be made, something that their competitors are unable to do like BA and KLM. Moreover Emirates has a strong marketing strategy which has created strong brand awareness worldwide and has created very strong alliances.
      To start up an airline you need patient shareholders with very deep pockets as the first few months are critical…we have other priorities as country and an airline is not one of them..we want job creation we can invest in agric-sector

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  1. Hw dare u say such nonsense abt my late president sata? Ikalafye ngataukwete ifyakulanda koswe.viva e.l the best president the obama of africa

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    • You have missed the point boss. This cadre fore life mentality is what drives us down. You lose objectivity.

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    • This is the reasoning that holding us back, what? a person can’t point out wrongs that we need correct.

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    • ‘Michael Sata whose modus operandi to economic management was based on wishes, sentiment, populism and not rational and informed economic decision making.’ Sata was a dunderhead. That is a fact. The PF is full of dunderheads who fail to think strategically and will NEVER listen to advice unless they are the originators of that advice. You cannot teach them anything because they feel they are always right. What do we do with such people? We get rid of them, thats what we do.

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  2. thanks Kalima for your article and recommendations. We have had other arm chair critics of the against the establishment of national airline without giving us any recommendations. A joint PPP venture is welcome whether we use QZ colours or not. What we want is an airline like proflight from Zambia that can fly to RSA and eventually to London and NY. We can do it than just relying on outside carriers like Rwanda Air who may decide tomorrow to pull out of the Zambian market once the completion gets hot. We should not just sit down while other countries come and enrich themselves through us. PF should push forward and bring to the table every Zambian like me to invest in the airline.

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  3. Well articulated article. In Zambia we still have BOMA sydrome. I support the private partnership not government owned.

    To have a home grown airline the fares should be made affordable it should not be a luxury to board an aircraft. Say Lusaka to Ndola K600. The more people flock to board these planes the more turnover.

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  4. Minister should instead think of empowering Zambians to service the domestic routes the SAA have done Mango, Kulula dotcom etc. Running a national airline is a not a joke, you need a serious equity partner.

    There are so many things that boma is failing to manage, do not add an airline please.

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    • Let us look at the project as a national infrastructure that will support other activities. I agree with those that private operation with minimum government involvement but I strongly disagree with those that because of malnutrition then don’t invest in national airline.

      You cant necessarily solve food problems by growing crops! As a country land locked, we need infrastructure that can help in reducing the cost of doing business either in terms of time or money.

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  5. NATIONAL AIRLINE IS IN THE ECONOMIC INTEREST OF THE COUNTRY AND THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA. THE DEFUNCT ZAMBIA AIRWAYS WAS MADE BANKRUPT BY KK AND HIS UNIP GOVERNMENT WHO UP TO THIS TIME OWE IT HUGE SUMS OF MONEY.

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    • ZA died under FTJ watch. Leave KK out of it. How many UNIP govt officials traveled out compared with MMD’s first cabinet

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  6. I agree with the gist of the analysis. We need to invest in modern airport infrastructure to attract and become a regional and international air route hub. We can do business from airline services. The airline per se is not good business.

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  7. But you forgot to tell the readers that Ethiopian Airline is a profitable airline and is 100% owned by the government. So how have they managed to operate at a profit? Rwandair is also owned by the government and is so far doing very well how have they done this?

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    • For God’s sake be reasonable – Zambia IS NOT Ethiopia! Name ONE parastatal or 100% Holding which GRZ has run profitably in the last 50 years! Man what a blow-out! Its this innocuous cranial depravity that has landen us in the present mess, the only sure thing in over 50 years – continued ineptitude! Shut yo gob if u have nothing to say, eeish!!

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    • ET or Ethiopia Airlines as it is known has a long history, whilst other airlines where busy sending pilots to train abroad ET went homegrown. It took its pilots to the air force and then sent them to train for a commercial airline. The Government invested in its staff marketed its craft and out of the OAU now African Union had a ‘guaranteed’ clientele base. Second it worked on cargo and baggage whilst one had bags lost in Kenya or robbed in SA that was unheard of at ET, it had a steady and focused expansion program first of its own airport and then for destination. The salaries are competitive but not exorbitant. It tries to stick to time..in other words it has been an ongoing program

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    • Just because you see an aircraft with a company logo it doesn’t mean they are a success…don’t you know that you can have a fleet of aircraft all from a leasing firm. Rwandair has never recorded a profit even though it has won awards as a best short haul airline (2013) this just gives you an idea how competitive the sector is. As for Ethiopian Airlines, that’s hard work stretches back from the 70s; their concept is to feed and de-feed traffic via their Addis hub and then carry passengers, even from way back in the 1970’s to for instance Beijing, combined with having traffic rights into North America for many years now. That success is not going unnoticed as Kenya airlines is in a dogfight for continental air space…add Gulf airlines into the mix who being free access by govts.

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  8. Mukanga is always living in the old and yet he is a young man at heart. No wonder late SATA always used to gastigate him on developmental issues. The man is naive. To start with where do you get the man t o kick start the whole thing when Government is this broke. All National Airliners these days are owned in partnership with private investors. Some of the old thoughts as brought out by late SATA are no longer feasable in the modern world. Change this minister and give us a more progressive person

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  9. National carrier is in national interest. The only thing we need is a clear road-map of how to get it done as opposed to mere pronouncements.

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  10. Provocation! Argumentation! Scandal! How can you count chicks before they hatch? How can you burry your head in sand? How can you mix fact and fiction? The national airline forZambia is viable and desirable. First, forget weaknesses of Zambia Airways and focus on its strenghts. There are issues of technology, employment, national pride and cash flow to consider first. The losses at Zambia Airways coincided with the command economy of the One Party State. Second, PPP options are right when Government operates as guardian as is the case at National Commercial Bank. Competent management will work hard to make profits. Third, do not include ZAF in talk about commercial pilots. That reflects your negative attitude about national security. Fourth, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Try, try, try.

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    • O my God, who left the gates at Chainama open? Dokota my foot! It’s all “ME TOO! ” all over again – leave the Ethiopians out of this; the IMF will screw Zed even the more, mwagulisa ka country instead of concentrating on the makeable; ati ka Hub…anyway the ordinary zambian is already so ransacked it won’t make a difference manje imwe u play-on like yo in Legoland – STFU !!

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    • @ Dr. Makasa Kasonde

      Stick to aspirin doc.
      Airline operation is more complicated than your senile brain can understand.
      Catching occasional flight does not make you expert and you are living evidence.

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    • Dr. Makasa Kasonde,

      “The national airline for Zambia is viable and desirable.” !!!!!!

      Prove it with figures. Otherwise your statement is just hot air!

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  11. well written article but WHY HAVE YOU LEFT ETHIOPIA AIRLINE (ET) IN YOUR ARTICLE? ET MAKES PROFITS AND ITS AN ARGUMENT THAT SOME PEOPLE MIGHT BRING IN AS THE REASON THEY WANT THE NATIONAL AIRLINE. please dig deeper into how ET is run???????????

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    • Ethiopian airlines(ET) has a long aviation history learnt from the Italians and very few countries can replicate the model.The reason is that the airline has developed pilots, engineers and aviation training colleges for over a hundred years and the Government does not intervene. It is run professionally. Although it is 100% owned, it operates independently as successive Government treat it as a major foreign exchange earner. ET is a a goose that lays the golden egg for Ethiopia. Even the Dictator Mengistu did not interfere in its operations. In other words ET is the exception rather than the rule. No other NationalAfrican airline has been as successful as ET.

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    • ET were working hard when you were busy enjoying free flights to London to buy clothes…you are good at talking like your very lazy president relaxing in China with the whole cabinet but have a poor work ethic and do not want to roll up your sleeves..imagine who goes on holiday one after starting work in a new role..really laughable.

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    • @MC

      That is the major problem Zambia suffers from: Government interference!

      When it comes to ventures where government goes kasatu with the private partner, the politicians think they can go there and make demands any time they want.

      I want to call that ‘a form of corruption.’

      And then there is organic corruption that has become a cultural norm in Zambia; more so in government than in the private sector. In other words, Zambia is miles away from workable PPP ventures.

      Proving me wrong will be costly for reasons alredy articulated by others. I guarantee you.

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  12. The article is quite misleading. Since when did government say they want to run the airline? Do you really know what is on the table or the various options government is currently considering? Running an airline is certainly not among those options. Problem is that in Zambia we have so many self-styled “experts” who comment on subjects they know very little. I also wonder how the author mixes the prospects of a “national airline” and the operations of Fastjet as their models are completely different.

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    • @ Insider

      You are right one one point, self styled experts like you are already employed as ministers and deputy ministers.
      As to the term “National Airline”, can you please enlighten me and the others on the meaning of that terminology.
      Thanks.

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  13. TRUE STUP!DITY is trying to do the same thing again and again when it has already failed before!

    This Minister of Transport and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga must be F!RED before he wastes any more of our Zambian taxpayers money.

    If he can show us a BUSINESS PLAN that has any chance of being profitable let him do so.

    Otherwise his loose talk is just an effort to justify his position and hide his incompetence and ignorance of the realities of business, especially his own Ministerial portofolio, namely transport and aviation specifically.

    Go and do your homework you F00L, and stop expecting Zambians to bear the cost of your mistakes!

    Fix Zamtels finances first!

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  14. I fully agree with your well written article. Allow me to point out that what these companies don’t pay is corporate tax and not income tax as you have pointed out in the article. Also, I am not sure I agree with you when you say “Government must identify those to run the airline business”. Let the individuals who think they have what it takes take up that journey without government involvement.

    Look at the over looked Proflight. They have survived through thick and thin and Iam sure if anyone wanted to start a serious airline would be the starting point to partner. What these people require is to run their affairs professionally and discipline. It will go along way towards their own sustainability and survival. Let hem convince the general public to support them by being efficient.

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  15. Free advise iyo ba govt. No more need to spend money on ‘techincal studies’. This genteleman has analysed it all.

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  16. But zambia can still set up an airline without spending a ngwee, just find out more. Secondly no one has said zambian govt wants to run any business like an Airline. There are investors who can come with their own money and use our national carrier and at same time offer Govy shares of more than 30%, you treat that as if Govt is actively running business. What about the shares we have in the mines?. All they want is business in an airline with a National character so it is better to find out from the Minister before you call them names

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  17. Just one point: WHAT HAS CHANGED? you ask. I would have given you 100% for the article but this question has cost 10% bwana writer.

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  18. This airline will bring with it jobs.Especially for degree holders who crave for white collar jobs.Support the idea its viable.

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  19. I agree. What is the relevance of a national airline? South African Airways is privately owned, so is British Airways or American Airlines. Look, most African leaders are socialists and do not understand that national pride does not come from how many landmarks you have but by how many stomachs you can feed!

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  20. SOME ZAMBIANS TRIED TO BE INOVATIVE AND STARTED ZAMBIAN AIRLINES. BECAUSE OF THE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT, THE LATE PRESIDENT MWANAWASA MHSRIP TRIED TO HELP, BUT DEATH TOOK HIM AWAY. THEN CAME A HOSTILE PRESIDENT RB. HE DOMONIZED THE SHAREHOLDERS. AND BECAUSE OF PERSONAL JELOUSIE THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN DRAGGED TO COURT AND ALL SORTS OF PETTY ALLEGATIONS LEBELLED AGAINST THEM. IN SHORT, STARTING AN AIRLINE IN ZAMBIA IS NOT EASY. MUKANGA SHOULD BE CAREFUL. IT IS NOT JUST A MATTER OF SAYING ALSO ME.

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  21. You all seem to miss a point in this article. Kalima Nkonde the author is trying to promote an existing airline to become a flag carrier, rather than having a new airline for fear of stiff competition. Just read between the lines. And how dare he mentions Zambian Airways, as an example of a good aviation entrepreneur, yet that company went away with K14 million (formerly K14 billion) still owed to the Zambian people!

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  22. As an outsider with an interest in airlines I agree that governments alone cannot run an airline, history, especially our African history suggests this would be a disaster!

    Need to be careful with assumptions that the likes of Kenya Airways, Air France KLM, BA etc are profit making, but you’re right they are not a liability to government

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  23. Wow! There’s so much disinformation about Fastjet in your article that I had to add some facts, which I hope are not inconvenient.

    As a UK-based Fastjet shareholder, I can categorically assure you that its losses are not “artificial”. Investors (from all over the world, including South Africa) have this week injected yet more money – $75 million – into this African venture and the simple reason for this is that Fastjet hasn’t made any profits yet.

    Over the past three years, the total invested into this new African airline amounts to over $200 million. Meanwhile, Fastjet’s share price (quoted on the London Stock Exchange) has fallen by over 90% so the company’s owners – its shareholders – have received no return at all for the fortune they have invested in Africa.

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  24. I should also point out that Fastjet Zambia, like Fastjet Tanzania, will be majority owned by nationals. Check out the nationalities of the directors!

    And you need to understand Fastjet’s business model. It is effectively a franchise…like McDonalds and countless others…whereby the local franchise owner subscribes to services supplied by Fastjet Plc. This is how the company can guarantee to operate to the highest European standards of governance, reliability, efficiency, regulatory oversight, safety and training.

    With Fastjet having arguably the best low-cost airline management team in the world (drawn from British Airways, Easyjet, Virgin and SAA among others), this model enables the local airline owners to operate safely and efficiently, thereby improving aviation standards in…

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