The Zambia Airports Corporation Limited has confirmed that Qatar Airways, one of the Five Star Airlines in the world, will commence flights between Doha and Lusaka during the first Quarter of 2017.
The commencement of the Qatar Airways flights will help realize the strategic objective of turning Kenneth Kaunda International Airport into a regional hub, as Lusaka presents with characteristics of a natural hub due to its centrality.
Corporation Managing Director Mr Robinson Misitala said the development was a step in the right direction as it comes in the wake of massive infrastructure development currently being undertaken by the Zambian government at all four international airports namely, Kenneth Kaunda, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and Mfuwe International Airports.
Mr Misitala said in order to sustain these developments, there is need to stimulate demand through introduction of new airline routes and operators.
Mr. Misitala further indicated that commencement of Qatar Airways flights will create an alternative option for connection through the Middle East which will ease network connectivity beyond Doha and open new opportunities in tourism and export potential.
He said this also provides the Zambian traveller with a wider choice of travel options and indeed increased capacity to support both passenger travel and cargo movement.
“Our expectation as Zambia Airports Corporation Limited, is that we will tap into a new market exclusive to Qatar Airways in terms of holiday which will entail growth in our traffic numbers. We further expect that our Zambian business entities will take advantage of the new market and explore new export markets especially from an agricultural product perspective. The airline will start by operating three (3) weekly flights using 254 seater Dreamliner (B787) direct between Doha and Lusaka,” he said.
He added, “They are in the process of confirming slot allocations with the relevant authorities in Doha after which the airline schedule will be communicated. Zambia Airports Corporation Limited is happy to state that the continued interest in destination Zambia by various airlines is testimony of the growth potential it has.”
Mr. Misitala implored all stakeholders to play their part in the continued development of the aviation industry and its related industries and consequently contribute positively to the growth of the Zambian Economy.
He also said that the Corporation is still in discussions with Fastjet Airlines and Turkish Airlines who have also expressed interest in Zambia.