Sanday Chongo Kabange in Berlin, Germany
Germany flag carrier and Europe’s largest airliner, Lufthansa, is this August expected to start flying into Zambia.
The Deutsche carrier which once serviced the southern Africa country before the liquidation of Zambia Airways in 1995 is expected to re-start flights into Zambia through a code –sharing partnership with other African carriers.
Christoph Meier, Head of Corporate Communications Southeast Europe, Africa, Middle East & Pakistan disclosed in an exclusive interview, “We will in fact launch a code share service from Frankfurt to Lusaka, via Addis Ababa as early as August. The Addis to Lusaka segment will be operated by our partner Ethiopian Airlines. Furthermore, Lusaka and Livingstone will be linked to Germany through code-share flights via Johannesburg in cooperation with South African Airlines”.
Zambia has not had a national airliner since the liquidation of loss-making Zambia Airways in 1995 and the subsequent failure by private operated Zambian Airways to assume the role of national flag carrier.
Zambian Airways had expressed its intentions to operate as the nation’s flag carrier but the 2008 global economic chew could not spare the airliner’s accounts and it too collapsed on 10 January, 2009.
Meier said Lufthansa was able to fly into a new market like Zambia based on the vast experience of its regional partners like Ethiopian Airlines or South African Airlines.
“These are examples illustrating the benefits of code-share cooperation. In turn, Zambia will be connected to Lufthansa’s 211 destinations worldwide, among them 127 in Europe. And last but not least, travel options and service quality for customers aiming at destinations Lusaka and Livingstone will be enhanced significantly. It’s a win-win-win solution,” he said.
The intention by Lufthansa to fly into Zambia has been granted a nod by line authorities in Lusaka with aggressive efforts from the Zambia High Commission in Berlin.
Meier explained, “The Zambian Ministry of Communications and Transport has been very supportive of Lufthansa’s plans to serve Lusaka and Livingstone on a code-share basis. The competent authorities have a clear strategy for the further economic development of the country and they see international air services as a key driver of economic growth. Thus, Lufthansa will be able to start the sale of tickets from Zambia to any of its worldwide destinations in mid August 2011. This will facilitate business travel to Lusaka, and provide an attractive travel option for European tourists to Zambia”.
Lack of a national airliner has adversely affected Zambia’s tourism inflows over the years. Despite boasting a number of natural tourists’ sites like the Victoria Falls in Livingstone, tourism growth in Zambia has been very slow and market analysts have attributed the erratic in-roads of visitors into Zambia to a poorly developed airline system.
The commencement of Lufthansa flights into Lusaka and Livingstone, the country’s tourist capital, is likely to enhance tourist visits into Zambia and also raise the country’s profile in Europe and elsewhere abroad.
Lufthansa’s flights into Zambia in mid August will be closely followed by yet another airliner which intends to start operating into Zambia in September.
Fly Zambia Airline which will be launched in September this year is currently in consultation with Zambian authorities on the possibility of adopting the logo which was previously used by the defunct Zambia Airways.
Fly Zambia Airline is a consortium of Zambian and South African investors.