RELAUNCHING the Zambia Airways when a lot of airlines are folding up is a bad economic idea, says Captain Charles Musenge.
Musenge, who spoke when he featured on Hot FM’s Red Hot breakfast show, said a lot of consideration needs to be made before the relaunch given Zambia’s financial positon.
Musenge, who worked for Zambia Airways for 15 years before it was liquidated, said the country had enough skills to run an airline but the timing was not right.
“The concept of a national carrier is deeply rooted in the identity for the nation and the pride of the nation but of those two, we have to seriously consider the economic aspects of it and make sure that we do setup an airline that is profitable and sustainable,” he said. “This country is currently in a serious financial position. You can feel it in your day-to-day life and the (Covid) pandemic has adversely affected the aviation industry globally.”
Musenge said the time was not right to venture into a national airline.
“This is not the right time… this is a start-up company. Most airlines in the region and globally are shutting down, people are being declared unemployed and they are having to look for bailouts to survive. So if you look at the environment right now, it is not the right time for a national airline,” he stressed.
Musenge said Zambia would not benefit from the cooperation with Ethiopia in the running of the national airline.
“We have to learn from examples set. Do you think it is necessary to bring the Ethiopians to run an airline for us? We have the necessary human capital in this country to sit down together and come up with a plan, come up with a model and start an airline that truly reflects the will, the vision and the capacity of the Zambian people,” said Musenge.