NANCY MWAPE, Lusaka
MAHOGANY Airline, which was suspended three years ago due to operational challenges, has been relaunched with its inaugural flight to Ndola scheduled for tomorrow.
Launching the airline, Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba commended Mahogany and its management for being resilient and focused on working to turn around the fortunes of the airline.
“It is encouraging to see a Zambian-registered airline that once suspended its operations in 2014 due to operational challenges making a comeback to operate as a fully-fledged domestic airline.”
“Mahogany case defies the conventional practice in the aviation sector as the general trend in the industry in Zambia shows that all airlines that failed to cope with the competitive environment in the aviation industry simply went under and closed indefinitely,” he said.
Mr Mushimba said Government has positioned the aviation sector as a catalyst to spur growth in many economic sectors such as tourism, horticulture, mining and manufacturing.
He said this is demonstrated by the huge investment Government is making in the aviation sector through construction of modern international airports in Lusaka, Livingstone, Ndola and Mfuwe and strategic provincial aerodromes and the air navigation systems estimated at over US$1.7 billion.
“In order to fully utilise the aviation infrastructure, which would make a quick return on the investment made, we need a robust air traffic connectivity network in the country that can only be attained by promoting entry of different players in the market who will offer a variety of airline services to domestic travelers,” he said.
Mahogany chief executive officer Jim Belemu assured clients that the airline takes safety and reliability first.
“Failure is an opportunity for one to do something again more intelligently, by this I mean we want to build our success on our failures,” he said.
Mr Belemu said the airline will run scheduled passenger flights on domestic and international routes, offer charters and also run chartered cargo services in the regional market