Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba says the national airline will be launched in the first quarter of 2019.
Mr Mushimba has told Parliament in a ministerial statement on the progress made towards the launch of the national airline that the exact date will be communicated once the board is constituted and management of the Zambia Airways 2014 Limited is put in place.
He says the airline in which government through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) will own 55% shares and Ethiopian airline 45% will purely operate on commercial basis without government or political interference.
He says government is alive to the fact that a national airline is critical to the attainment of the country’s growth aspirations in the aviation sector.
Mr Mushimba says the national airline will play a catalytic role in the growth of tourism, horticultural, trade and manufacturing sectors as it will create convenient delivery schedules for business and tourists, and open traditional routes thus offer new business opportunities to untapped areas thereby enhancing revenue collection for the treasury.
He says the bilateral air service agreements government has signed with other countries will allow seamless passage of Zambia Airways into various countries.
He adds that establishing a national airline will ensure maximum utilization of aviation infrastructure currently being constructed at a total cost of over US$1 billion.
The Minister further states that the national airline will contribute to employment creation in various economic sectors with direct and indirect linkages to its supply chain.