“We have strengthened our partnerships with a number of airlines recently, [such as] Emirates, Kenyan Airways and Ethiopian Airlines as well as Precision Air,” Keira Irwin commercial director told CNBC Africa.
“We are willing to bring in more inclined partners on board to widen our route network that serves the existing travelling public and hoping to expand in small regional destination ourselves.”
Despite the challenges of the European Union (EU) ban on Zambian airlines entering the European airspace, Proflight and Fastjet have sought to establish Lusaka as an aviation hub.
Fastjet, is an affordable airline based in East Africa’s Tanzania. The carrier will mainly service the air link between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka from 1 May 2014, including local Tanzanian routes from Dar es Salaam. Meanwhile, Proflight will continue its current domestic routes in Zambia and its link to Lilongwe in Malawi, from Lusaka.
(READ MORE: Fastjet to have a crack at Africa's aviation market)
The partnership gives passengers the opportunity to simultaneously book flights between both airlines on specific routes which include Livingstone, Chipata, Mfuwe, Ndola and Malawi’s Lilongwe. All these flights will also go through Lusaka to various other destinations on the continent however, the Mbeya and Mwanza routes in Tanzania will be via Fastjet.
The agreement between both airlines also occurred on the backdrop of the 2009 EU ban on planes from Zambia.
In an audit conducted by the European Union Civil Aviation Authority Organisation (ICOA), significant safety concerns were observed under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme which concluded in the blacklisting of Zambian registered planes.
Various concerns were raised which included the shortage of skills at Zambia’s department of civil aviation and that some of the staff did not have the needed ICOA training.
Irwin however added that despite the fuel and distribution costs remaining an ongoing challenge in the country, there has been progress in exploration and diversity of new markets.
(READ MORE: Lack of liberalisation hurting Africa airline industry)
“We are looking at Harare as well as Lubumbashi, [and] we are at an advanced stage of getting route rights for both routes. We are looking at the route of Johannesburg but we have not made any decisions on that,” said Irwin.
BY: THANDO MATUTU