Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has criticized government’s move to relaunch Zambia Airways describing the decision as a waste of tax payers money.
And Mr Hichilema has accused those pushing for the relaunch of Zambia Airways of planning to use the airline to bring in drugs, money laundering activities and corruption.
Mr Hichilema said the project to relaunch Zambia Airways which was defunct in 1994 is a waste of public resources as the project is not economically viable.
He was speaking on Thursday when he featured on a live Hot Seat radio programme on Hot FM.
Mr Hichilema advised the Zambian government to start constructing toilets in markets than forming an airline.
“An airline in Zambia today, given our geographical position in the center with so many neighbours and the nature of the business as our national airline is not viable. Have you seen what’s happening with South African Airways, that is a huge airline where they are putting in billions of dollars every so often. Why are national airlines not viable?”
He added, “I know the emotions, that you own a national airline, I am a business man. Sometimes you must walk away from emotions as a business man and look at the dynamics of the business and the dynamics of the business are that Zambia national airline will not work, it will be a waste of tax payers money.”
“Why? Because the dictates commercially do not allow, the dictates do not confirm that you can run a viable airline. British Airways as big as it as it is struggling every now and then. Now look at it, you can’t manage Cholera here in Kanyama, how would you manage an airline that requires more intellect, a lot capital,” he said.
And Mr Hichilema has alleged that the people pushing for the restart of Zambia Airways are only interested in serving their selfish interests.
“These people are pushing for an airline because they want to use it for corruption, move cash around using diplomatic passports, they want to move drugs around. We hear those who are friends of the President are pushing for the airline because they want to supply food to the airline and other supply services. They are looking at personal gains,” Mr Hichilema said.
“Why do you want to form an airline instead of building toilets in the market? This thing is not viable,” Mr Hichilema charged.