Zambia still intends to launch Zambia Airways (ZN, Lusaka) despite delays in commencing operations, according to Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya.

Speaking on Hot FM Radio, he said the government had facilitated all regulatory requirements for the nascent carrier to start operating. "We have done everything which means that from a government perspective, we have enabled the environment for Zambia Airways to fly again," he said.

He said the onus was now on the investors to make a decision on the launch date. "It is not for the government to determine because the airline is a commercial entity, a joint venture," he added.

Zambia Airways is a joint venture between Zambia’s state-owned Industrial Development Corporation and Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa International). In November last year, it filed a December 15, 2020, start-date, the ch-aviation schedules module revealed, but the carrier’s launch was delayed because of renewed travel restrictions as a second COVID-19 wave hit Southern Africa. The launch has been delayed several times since October 2018 and the airline’s fleet and launch plans have not yet been announced formally.

According to schedules filed in November, the start-up planned to operate two DHC-8-Q400s based in Lusaka, from where it would conduct flights to Ndola International; Harare International; Mfuwe; Livingstone; and Solwezi, as well as services to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo using a B737-800. The aircraft were expected to be sourced from Ethiopian Airlines, which operates a fleet of twenty-five Q400s and seventeen B737-800s, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module.

Zambia Airways was granted an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) by the Zambian Civil Aviation Authority in September 2020.

The country has had no national carrier since 1994, when the original Zambia Airways (1964) (Lusaka) was liquidated.