Zambia Airways has taken delivery of its first aircraft ahead of the commencement of commercial operations on December 1.

The 70-seater Bombardier Dash 8 Q-400, the first of six planes the airline is expected to operate, touched down at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport at 13:30 and was honoured with a water gun salute.

Transport and Logistics Minister Hon. Frank Tayali was on hand to receive the aircraft after it was handed over to the Zambia Airways crew by Ethiopian Airlines, which co-owns the airline with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

“My ministry welcomes the relaunch of Zambia Airways… Contrary to anxieties and fears, Zambia Airways should not be looked at as coming to kill the private sector. Instead, it will promote competition and the beneficiaries will be the people of Zambia,” he said.

Hon Tayali said the airline would be critical to the growth of the tourism sector and related industries such as hotels and restaurants.

Zambia Airways Board Chairperson Mr Bonaventure Mutale, SC said the relaunch of Zambia Airways after an almost 30-year absence was a major milestone in the Zambian aviation history.

“The arrival of the aircraft is a firm statement by the Board and Management that Zambia Airways is commencing operations on December 1. The re-emergence of a national carrier comes with pride to the Zambian people,” Mr Mutale said.

The airline will commence domestic flights from its hub in Lusaka to Ndola and Livingstone five and six times a week, respectively. The airline will introduce additional domestic routes to Mfuwe and Solwezi and regional destinations to Johannesburg and Harare in the first quarter of 2022.