ZAMBIA (eTN) – A new airline is starting up in Zambia. This is exciting news as, at the moment, only Proflight offers flights within Zambia, and a little competition is always a good thing.
The new company is called Mukuba Airlines and is being set up by a group of Zambian expats and locals. The Zambian expats have been out of Zambia for a while and gained expertise in the airline business and want to come home to put their knowledge to good use to improve their home country.
The planning of the new business has been ongoing for the past 2 years, and now is the time to publicize it. The plan is that the airline will be operational before the UNWTO meeting in August. Two planes will be used initially – a Turbo Prop ATR 42-500 and an ATR 72-500, both French/Italian-made. They will be maintained by Air Botswana. The ATR 42 has a carrying capacity of 48; the ATR 72.
The Chairman of the company, Mwansa Chalwe, an accountant by profession, stated that the project has been meticulously planned. He hopes that the company will turn around the domestic flight market by making air travel affordable. He also hopes that the company will contribute to investment and tourism in Zambia.
Mwansa Chalwe said that the government had been very supportive, and he hopes that once the airline is successful it will encourage other Zambian expats to return home to help develop their own country.
In the meantime, the government has continued to research the possibility of resurrecting a national carrier. But airlines in Zambia have had a checkered history. Zambia Airways started its life in 1964 and died in 1995. In 1998, Zambian Airways arrived and survived until 2009 amassing a debt of, it is said, of US$29million. In 2008, Zambezi Airlines started operations, but by 2009 had formed an alliance with Proflight, and then it hiccupped between problems and stopped flying in October of last year.
Happy landings to Mukuba Airlines.