Minister of Transport Frank Tayali has said the Government has requested World Bank and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to assist Zambia to produce aviation fuel through the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Project.
Speaking at the 8th Aviation Annual Stakeholders’ Forum in Lusaka on Wednesday, Mr. Tayali said this has been done in a bid to reduce the cost of aviation fuel.
He said as Zambia targets to become a transport and logistics hub in the Southern African Region reducing the cost of aviation fuel would be key.
Mr. Tayali highlighted the importance of the of the aviation industry to the growth and development of the economy.
“The Aviation Industry plays a key catalytic and enabling role in the growth and development of the economy, and it is imperative that we discuss and address key issues that may affect us in the development of this sub-sector.I wish to commend the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited for their commitment to host this event annually and I further wish to thank all stakeholders here today; your presence is testament to the commitment we collectively share towards the advancement of the Aviation sub-sector.The Aviation sub-sector has undergone a major facelift with the New Dawn Administration prioritising the rehabilitation and development of airports, including strategic and provincial aerodromes for the industry to grow. This is evident by the huge investments that have been and continue to be injected into the sector,” Mr. Tayali said.
“The upgrades will include the expansion of passenger terminals, fuel farms and fencing of all provincial airports, as well as cargo handling facilities in all the provincial airports and runway lights. These facilities are meant to bring down the cost of aviation and encourage high value exports to come from the provinces to be bulked in Lusaka or Ndola for onward transportation to other countries. The Upgrading Plan for Provincial Airport Infrastructure will see a phased plan of infrastructure upgrade at several facilities over the remaining period of the next three (3) years.The New Dawn Government is acting on its intention of making Lusaka a regional aviation and logistics hub. One of the major objectives is to reduce the cost of aviation fuel. Therefore, we have requested the World Bank and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to assist Zambia to produce aviation fuel through the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Project,” he said.
Mr. Tayali said the New Dawn Government is committed to providing an enabling environment to encourage economic growth.
“We recently witnessed the relaunch of Turkish Airlines into Lusaka, the reintroduction of Proflight Zambia operating into Durban and the newly launched Zambia Airways route into Harare and Johannesburg. The New Dawn Government is committed to providing an enabling environment to encourage economic growth. We stand ready to support the industry in ensuring that it recovers fully. The passenger statistics for ZACL in 2022 represented an overall recovery of 89% to pre-COVID-19 levels, compared to recovery levels of 41% in 2021 and 29% in 2020. Overall, international passengers recovered by 83% and domestic passengers by 111%. This portrays that we are headed in the right direction. However, we can only succeed if we collaborate effectively and efficiently. Last year when we met, three main issues came up, these were, fuel, lounges and competition. In our review of the progress report, my office is NOT too happy with the progress that has been made in addressing some of these issues.”
Mr. Tayali continued:”We have carefully looked at the sector and I am, therefore directing as follows: -1) Henceforth, the Zambia Civil Aviation Authority as Regulator shall take lead in organising and following up on matters for the Aviation Stakeholders’ Forum. This will include any special issues that will require addressing rather than wait for an entire year to indicate progress. I expect that quarterly reports will be provided to my office, through the Permanent Secretary, indicating what progress is being made on these issues.2) On the lounges, Zambia Airports must provide lounges to the airlines if they request. Fix the price per square metre and provide the major airlines with lounges and the major domestic airlines like Zambia Airways and Proflight. This will promote competition in the services being provided.”
“With regard to Jet A 1, it is not right to have one monopolistic operator at KKIA or any International Airport. Henceforth, ensure that there is a minimum of three operators in all international airports. This will promote competition and reduce the price of jet A 1 fuel.Zambia Airports should ensure that every designated provincial airport has a fuel terminal so that operators can find jet A 1 fuel in close proximity. Further, the provincial airports should not just be upgraded, but that the facilities that are built should be built to acceptable world class standards.Zambia Airports Corporation Limited must forthwith ensure that all rentable space in their different premises is occupied. I am happy to note that Sarago has come on board to this effect.The Civil Aviation Authority must, within 6 months, have a Service Charter that clearly defines how many days it will take to issue any licence or service.As we navigate the challenges and opportunities the Aviation Industry, let us take advantage of today’s interaction to share how best we can work towards achieving our regional hub status,” Mr. Tayali concluded.