Proflight Zambia’s 105-seat Boeing 737-200 aircraft made its maiden flight to Livingstone on May 15, with VIP and celebrity passengers helping the airline celebrate the introduction of its new aircraft.
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing Hon. Nicolas Banda was among those on board the plane from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, along with celebrities including JK, Cactus, and Petita Mwanza.
The twin-engine jet plane marks an historic development for Zambia’s only scheduled airline, and will almost double the carrier’s seating capacity.
The aircraft will operate on Proflight’s routes from Lusaka to Livingstone and Ndola and has enabled the airline to reduce fares to KR250 one-way or KR500 return for tickets on those routes booked at least 14 days in advance.
“Proflight Zambia is immensely proud of its new aircraft,” said the airline’s Director of Government and Industry Affairs, Capt. Philip Lemba. “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.”
The increase in seating capacity will enable Proflight and its passengers to benefit from the economies of scale inherent in a large aircraft. The operating costs of a large aircraft are proportionately lower than those of a smaller plane. Airport landing fees, fuel, and crew costs can thus be apportioned between greater numbers of passengers, bringing airfares down dramatically.
These new early-bird fares will be passed on across Proflight’s domestic route of 9 destinations, including those on which the smaller aircraft will still be operated.
One-way fares from Lusaka to Chipata will be KR700; KR1,025 to Kasama; KR855 to Mansa; KR650 from Kasama to Ndola; KR555 from Ndola to Mansa; KR1,025 from Ndola to Kasama via Lusaka; KR855 from Mansa to Ndola via Lusaka; KR630 from Ndola to Livingstone via Lusaka; KR670 from Ndola to Lower Zambezi via Lusaka; and KR720 from Solwezi to Livingstone via Lusaka. Fares include all charges except NACL taxes of K58 per flight.
The 737 aircraft will also play a pivotal role in getting delegates to Livingstone for the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly in August, raising the nation’s standing in the eyes of the world’s tourism industry.
The 737 aircraft is the best-selling aircraft in aviation history. The 737 is operated by more than 500 airlines, flying to 1,200 destinations in 190 countries, and represents more than a quarter of the worldwide fleet of large commercial jet airliners. On average, some 1,250 Boeing 737s are airborne at any given time around the world, with 2 departing or landing somewhere every 5 seconds, according to Flight International.
The 737-200 can fly at speeds of up to 780 kph, compared with the current maximum speed of 546 kph of the Jetstream 41 aircraft, reducing flight times significantly. Its cargo capacity will enable Proflight to offer increased baggage allowances on routes operated with the 737.