Written by on February 16, 2019

IT IS not a secret that many African national airlines today offer little to be proud of.

This is because the majority of state-owned airlines have lamentably failed not being able to make enough revenue to cover their costs.

Today, there are only three major sub-Saharan intercontinental airlines: South African Airways (SAA) Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines worth mentioning and yet the only profitable one is Ethiopian Airlines which is not managed by the government.

It is against this background that the observations by our Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) advising against the re-launching of Zambia Airways deserve an ear.

CTPD researcher Bright Chizonde may have a point when he cries that the current monetary position of Zambia does not allow for a massive experiment in the risky aviation industry.

Mr Chizonde says Zambia is grappling with rapidly increasing debt, now standing at about US$9billion, and currently implementing austerity measures to allow for a massive investment such as an airline at the expense of tax payers.

Or indeed does Zambia want to join the rest of African airlines that incur hundreds of millions in losses every year, and survive on government bailouts?

If this will be our route to involve government as a major player in resurrecting of Zambia Airways, then there will be need to stop and think twice.

Besides there is already overwhelming evidence that State-owned airlines waste resources, costing the continent millions of jobs and billions in revenue mainly due to lack of freedom in the aviation industry.

Unfortunately, caught in these initiatives to re-boost defunct carriers across the continent, Zambia has been joined by Nigeria and Uganda.

The worst part of the calamitous state of African skies is that for the last 50years, multilateral agreements put in place to transform the aviation industry on the continent, are still pitifully waiting to be implemented.

Admittedly national carriers and buttress some misguided sense of national pride, but they tear down African economies. Let us not be in a hurry to re-launch QZ while flawless questions remain unreciprocated

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