Minister of Transport and Logistics, Frank Tayali has reaffirmed that government remains committed to making Zambia a competitive hub for aviation transport in the region.
Mr. Tayali noted that Zambia has potential to become the hub of the aviation sector due to its geographical location. Mr. Tayali said this in Ndola after inspecting the ground handling equipment at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport, adding that time has come for Zambia to take advantage of its location and improve on the connectivity.
He stated that being surrounded by nine neighbours, the country should take it as an opportunity to improve on the connectivity as it aspires to become a competitive and robust hub in the aviation, transport and Logistics sector.
“The country has potential because of where it is sitting. And we need to take advantage of this to improve on our connectivity and become a reliable hub for transport and logistics in the region,” Mr. Tayali said.
The Minister also commended Avic International for delivering 31 out of 34 equipment packages expected to enhance capacity as well as safety for all passengers.Mr. Tayali reminded engineers to understand how the equipment is operated and also engage in preventive maintainance so that the equipment does not lie idle because of small faults.
And Zambia Airport Corporation Limited (ZACL) Acting Managing Director, Maggie Kaunda said the equipment is part of the US $397 million greenfield project, which has been delivered at a cost of more than US$12 million.Ms. Kaunda said in line with the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP),ZACL is confident that once the specialised equipment is in use, it will instill confidence and attract new businesses.She said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has suffered a setback but expressed happiness that it is slowly taking a positive trajectory as the numbers of passengers have continued to increase.She disclosed that the equipment includes; air starter unit, apron bus, apron sweeper truck, conveyor belt loader, ground processing unit, 27 tonne tug master, 59 tonne tug master and tow tractor.