Monday, June 24, 2024

Kenneth Kaunda International Airport Delays Qatar and Emirates Airlines to Prepare for President Hichilema’s Landing


The closure of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) last Saturday for close to an hour, which led to the circling of two international airlines, Qatar and Emirates, was not due to poor air traffic management but because the airport was preparing for the landing of President Hakainde Hichilema, according to the Transport and Logistics Minister, Frank Tayali. The closure was in line with international aviation practice that all flights, regardless of their status, must be halted when the airport is processing the departure and landing of the President.

“It was such a scary moment to watch the two planes circling the airport for more than 25 minutes,” said one aviation expert who preferred to remain anonymous. “The passengers and crew of the aircraft were panicking, and it was a harrowing experience for them.”

Another aviation expert, who also preferred to remain anonymous, expressed disappointment with the management of Lusaka International Airport. “The management of Lusaka International Airport failed to manage the Presidential flight timelines, causing serious panic among passengers and the crew of the two aircraft,” he said.

However, Minister Tayali clarified that all Presidential flights were arranged by the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) aviation experts and that it was incorrect to blame KKIA staff or the Ministry of Transport and Logistics. “For the first time, two international aircraft, Qatar and Emirates, were made to circle the Lusaka International Airport for several long minutes because their crews were denied landing rights as scheduled,” he said. “The two aircraft were in the Lusaka airspace as scheduled but could not land because the aviation staff denied them access to land as they were preparing for the landing of President Hichilema who was coming from Mfuwe.”

According to Tayali, it was necessary to close the airport to ensure the safety of the President and all those at the airport. “What happened on Saturday is the international standard practice everywhere in the world,” he said. “President Hichilema was to land from Mfuwe, and no one expected the aviation staff to hold the head of state in the air to accommodate the landing of aircraft entering Zambia.”

He further explained that all airlines were aware of the international standard practice, and it was not an attempt to deny landing rights to other planes but only delayed because the airport was processing the landing of President Hichilema. “Imagine Air Force One is on the runaway and you have all other planes landing and taking off…you would be risking the life of the head of state. So there was nothing sinister or attempt to deny landing rights to other planes, but they were only delayed because the airport was processing the landing of President Hichilema,” he said.


  1. We are back to dark age. Very very sad again, what was Hakainde carrying to cause the delay of our esteem customers who pay landing fees to the National Airports corporation? Where was ” Kamwendo mu Jet” coming from”

  2. The use of an international airport for takeoff and landing of the presidential toy planes when there is a military airport nearby is unnecessary. It puts the president at risk, inconveniences motorists, air passengers and airlines. Let us learn from how developed countries operate.

  3. This criminal called HH had endangered the lives of many. We should not Pablo Escobars to capture our countries and to destroy innocent lives. In Europe, even Presidents or VIP,s mostly use bicycles or private vehicles. Why must this man use planes every week?

  4. My grandmother in Kitwe has lost all her teeth. HH must fly to herein Kitwe to comfort her. The next week he has to fly to Ndola for a cup of tea with old mine workers.

  5. I have never heard off this kind of nonsense from KK to ECL.

    Hakainde is going to k1ll innocent people. I can imagine two planes. I can only hope the two operators stop coming to Zambia. Hakainde should apologise.

  6. Unlike at the Lusaka Bus station, Air traffic controllers do know what time all planes will be landing. All aircraft pilots submit flight plans before they take off to destination. For safety’s sake Control towers schedule the landing so that it doesn’t coincide with another. In this case the controllers must have been sleeping for them not to know that Gulfstream was about to land so Qatar had to stay in the skies. Planes can land within ten minutes of each other so why was Emirates and Qatar made to wait for one hour? That is unsafe and staff should be taken for a disciplinary hearing

    • The most likely scenario is that the presidential plane flight plans were submitted at short notice if at all. By the way, what was he doing in Mfuwe and why was it not announced?

  7. The best option is to let planes land and inform passengers to remain in their seats. The president is a human being, lets not mystify this presidency as some abnomal or super human being. Lets be civil.

    • Very sensible and logical comments. Allow to land and keep them parkedin one side, if need be. Hovering over the city, wasting fuel and 300 passengers’ time, is criminal

  8. And some people thought ecl was evil. You were lied to for votes. See how pompous this f00I hh is. You will learn haha. We warned you and this is just the beginning. Hh is a greedy cow

  9. And we want to turn KKIA into a 24/7 International Airport? Really laughable..can you imagine if you were in transit and missed your connecting flight because your flight was circling the airport because of HH

  10. Sorry for inconvenience caused to delayed Airlines and the passengers on board. I hope the government won’t incur a penalty for this situation.

  11. That is exactly poor management. What schools are we going to nowadays?
    The closure of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) last Saturday for close to an hour, which led to the circling of two international airlines, Qatar and Emirates, was not due to poor air traffic management but because the airport was preparing for the landing of President Hakainde Hichilema, according to the Transport and Logistics Minister, Frank Tayali.
    the airport’s preparation for the landing of President Hakainde Hichilema, should not lead to “the circling of two international airlines, Qatar and Emirates”,

    • We shouldn’t forget to appreciate that we still have airlines using our airports. Otherwise they would be landing in Harera and Zambia destined passengers hike to Lusaka.


  13. Thats nonsense…absolute crap…..HH should have landed at the City Airport were the airforce has jurisdiction.
    I support the UPND but such crap must be condemned with the contempt it deserves.
    HH himself should not allow such stupidity.

  14. This is totally unacceptable and backwards, delaying international flights like this. What could’ve happened if the flights had run out of fuel and crashed? Extreme incompetence. You need to apologize to these two airlines and make sure not to do it again. Such incompetence.

  15. Absolutely unaxxeptable Bwana HH, and this is why we remain poor bcuz we don’t take business fundamentals or timelines seriously.

  16. Typical of what happens when perfectly reasoning profesionals pander to politician’s indulgences. Level-headed thinking goes out of the window. International flights pay lots of money in landing fees, how foolish to treat them so appallingly. And the poor passengers…!! put at risk for what? Beggars belief!

  17. And the scumbug is not ashamed to tell us this nonsense. Obama came to Georgia, landed at the Atalanta International airport and we didn’t even know the president had been addition he jumped on a helicopter for his destination….no closing of roads. This minister with a blue headed lizard head must be fired.

  18. As a Global climate change activist I will advocate for Zambia to be brought before the UN for unneccessarily increasing the carbon footprint. One hour! Two big jets just burning unneccessary fumes!!

  19. Management failure if they knew that the president plane was scheduled to land at the same time with the other two planes which is of cause is not possible, then the air aviation could have had at least a contingent plan for this issue but they decided to risk other ppl’s lifes for the sake of one individual and the explanation is not good enough however, if the airforce were involved in the negotiation of the matter then they should have let the president’s plane land same where else!!! all i can say is that this was a risk in so many ways whoever made the call should be investigated for healthy and safety precaution!!!

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