The Zambian Government is likely to miss a planned April 2019 launch for its Zambia Airways (AZB, Lusaka) project. The renewed national carrier was originally expected to launch in October last year only to be delayed to January 2019 over what were said to be delays in the finalization of its board of directors.

In late January, the head of the Zambian Civil Aviation Authority (ZCAA), Gabriel Lesa, confirmed to local radio that the airline had yet to begin its AOC certification drive, a process that he said would take a minimum of three months to complete.

Sources familiar with developments have since told The Lusaka Times that Zambia Airways' launch may now only take place in the third quarter of this year given delays in finalizing its fleeting plans. The selection is reportedly split between regional jets such as Embraer E2s or Airbus's A220 product as well as B737-7s and B787s from Boeing.

Zambian Transport and Communications Permanent Secretary Misheck Lungu is due to travel to Addis Ababa in an attempt to finalize the plan which will then require board and shareholder approval.

Zambia Airways is a 55/45 venture between the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa).

“What this means is that the Board will have to wait before they could meet until P.S. Lungu returns from Ethiopia and submits a report on what type of equipment to go with. As we speak now, the launch is postponed because there hasn’t been any agreement on the type of equipment to purchase. Government doesn’t want to buy larger planes which will only service regional and domestic routes, it will be counterproductive and unsustainable,” the source said.

“Further, we don’t have a CEO yet; the board will have to meet first to determine how the question of the CEO will be dealt with the other shareholder. There are some suggestions from Addis Ababa that they give us a CEO but Government seems against that proposal so these are the reasons for the deferment."