THE launch of a direct flight from Lusaka to Durban by Proflight will supplement Government’s efforts meant to turn Zambia into a hub for air travel throughout the region, says Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba.
Mr Mwamba said the launch was also a culmination of the Zambian Government’s continuous commitment to the success and advancement of the commercial aviation industry in the country, to its goal of ensuring that Zambia becomes the preferred transit point in the region.
“Government’s goal is to ensure that Zambia becomes the preferred transit point in the region, and apart from investing in road, rail and water transportation, Government has commenced the modernization and upgrading of airport infrastructure which include international airports, provincial and selected district aerodromes at an estimated cost of US$1.7 billion,” he said.
He said air transport was a critical industry with a significant impact on the African economy and should play a pivotal role in realising the objectives of the envisaged tripartite free trade area. Mr Mwamba said Government wanted to develop an integrated, reliable and efficient transport system to leverage the central location to ensure that at least 25 percent of all cargo traffic south of the equator was processed through Zambia by 2064.
Mr Mwamba was speaking during the launch of Proflight Zambia’s inaugural flight direct from Lusaka to Durban in South Africa.
“The Government supported the decision by Proflight Zambia to deploy its aviation assets between the two economic centres of Southern Africa, that is, Lusaka and Durban, and this support of ventures such as the launch of the Proflight route is an indication of Zambia’s continuous commitment to attaining real regional integration, especially within the SADC region, as well as to the facilitation of the movement of goods and people,” he said. And Proflight director of government and industry affairs, Captain Philip Lemba said the launch of the flight was great economic news for Zambia because it will bring about increased tourist arrivals which would benefit the country and promote it abroad.