Monday, August 1, 2011
Germany flag carrier and Europe’s largest airliner, Lufthansa, is this August expected to start flying into Zambia through a code-sharing agreement with Ethopian Airlines.
The Deutsche carrier, which once serviced the southern African 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 co-operation with South African Airlines,” he said.
Deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Transport Florence Chawelua confirmed that Government is reviewing an application from Ethopian Airlines to start operating the Lufthansa flights.
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 a national flag carrier.
Zambian Airways had expressed intentions to operate as the nation’s flag carrier but the 2008 global economic crisis could not spare the airliner’s accounts and it too collapsed on January 10, 2009.
Mr 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 co-operation. 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 Zambian High Commission in Berlin.
Mr 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.”
He said Lufthansa will be able to start the sale of tickets from Zambia to any of its worldwide destinations in mid-August 2011 which will facilitate business travel to Lusaka, and provide an attractive travel option for European tourists.
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.[Zambia Daily Mail]
Monday, August 1, 2011