The government has dispelled online media reports suggesting that transport permanent secretary Misheck Lungu will soon travel to Ethiopia to convince Ethiopian Airlines to agree on the choice of aircraft.
Acting transport and communications minister Mutotwe Kafwaya stated in a press release that the government cannot interfere with the operations of the national airline as all its day-to-day needs will be guided by the board.
“The Ministry of Transport and Communications wishes to correct the misrepresentation of facts that some Electronic Media Houses have written on the National Airline project and would like to state that the Shareholders Agreement, the Aircraft Lease Agreement, the Technical Support and Maintenance Services Agreement that were signed on 19th August, 2018 between Ethiopian Airways (ET) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) will provide the operational framework for the National Airline. The four Agreements stated above are supported by the Business Plan which was jointly developed by IDC and ET. The Business Plan clearly defines the business model to be adopted for Zambia Airways (2014),” he stated.
“The Business Model for Zambian Airways (2014) was developed and agreed upon by both shareholders, that is, IDC (holding 55% shares) and ET (holding 45% shares) after a detailed and thorough analysis of the route plan, growth plans and competitive environment within which Zambia Airways (2014) will operate in…The choice of aircraft was arrived at after considering the route plan, market demand and competitive environment for operating commercial flights. As the National Airline grows and matures, the Board of Zambia Airways (2014), based on recommendation from Management, will decide on which aircraft will meet the growth aspirations of the National Airline…”
Kafwaya stated that the Ministry of Transport and Communications was alive to “the past mistakes that Government of the Republic of Zambia made by interfering in the day to day operations of the defunct Zambia Airways” and to avoid the recurrence of such mistakes, “Government through IDC constituted an independent Board of Directors whose role is to provide oversight and supervision to the Management Team of Zambia Airways (2014)”.
“Therefore, the day to day operations of the airline will be left to the Management Team which will be constituted through a competitive recruitment process. Consequently. The Ministry and IDC will not be involved in the day to day decision making of Zambia Airways (2014). The Ministry of Transport and Communication therefore wishes to dispel all misrepresentations by some Electronic Media Houses that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications will be traveling to Ethiopia to try to convince Ethiopian Airlines to agree on the choice of aircraft. Kindly take note that all decisions pertaining to operations, investment planning and growth strategies for Zambia Airways will be a preserve of the Board of Zambia Airways (2014) and not the Ministry of Transport and Communication,” he stated.
“The Ministry’s role will be limited to Policy formulation in the aviation sector to create an enabling environment for the smooth operation of the aviation sector. Finally, the newly constituted Board of Zambia Airways (2014) will soon have their inaugural meeting to, among other issues, recruitment the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who will then facilitate the recruitment of the rest of the Management Team and immediately commence the process of acquiring the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and Air Services Permit (ASP). As Government we are confident that the launch is closer than ever before.”