By KALONDE NYATI in Livingstone
PROFLIGHT Zambia has unveiled its 105 seat Boeing 737-200 aircraft ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference slated for August.
And plans by the airline to service regional routes have reached an advanced stage.
The aircraft is more than triple the 29-seat aircraft, which was the largest aircraft for Proflight.
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing Nicolas Banda has since described the development as a milestone to transporting delegates to the forthcoming UNWTO conference.
“As Government, we are excited that Proflight, which has been providing local air transport for 20 years, has launched this flight. We urge the private sector to venture in this industry so that travelling can be made easy,” Mr Banda said.
He was speaking during a flight organised by Proflight for various stakeholders from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka to Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula in Livingstone on Wednesday.
Mr Banda said there is need for the private sector to consider investing in the airline industry, a move that will provide efficient transport services to the local and foreign tourists.
He said it is Government’s vision to open up the aviation industry, adding that plans to set up a national airline are underway.
Mr Banda said despite removing the fuel subsidy that has also affected the airline industry, Government is committed to providing incentives that will stimulate private sector growth.
Earlier, Chief Mukuni of Kazungula district said the aircraft will boost local tourism.
Chief Mukuni also called on bus operators to ensure that they provide quality transport services ahead of the UNWTO conference.
Meanwhile, Proflight Zambia director of government and industry affairs Philip Lemba said the aircraft, which has been leased from a South African firm Star Air Cargo, will operate on Proflight’s routes from Lusaka to Livingstone and Ndola.
Captain Lemba said the aircraft has enabled the airline to reduce fares to KR250 (K250,000) one-way or KR500 (K500,000) return for tickets on Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone routes booked at least 14 days in advance.
“Proflight Zambia is immensely proud of its new aircraft. The airline has adopted a strategy of steady, careful growth and we are now ready to take the next leap that will put Proflight and Zambia firmly on the regional aviation map,” he said.
On launching regional routes, capt Lemba said the airline has received clearance from the Malawi, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo routes and will soon launch flights to those countries.