Zambian owned international airline company Proflight Zambia has aimed to expand its services on the Lusaka-Lilongwe route as it has targeted to move from single flight a day to double in the next two years.
Commercial and Ground Operations Director for Proflight Zambia Keira Langford-Johnson said in an interview Monday in Lilongwe that having grown in both frequency and capacity during the five years that they have been plying the Lusaka-Lilongwe route, it is their vision as a company to expand further.
“When we were starting out in 2013, we had three flights a week using an 18 seater jet and now we are operating daily on a 29 seater aircraft.
“In the next two years we would like to be able to put a 50 seater aircraft on the Lilongwe route and perhaps go on to double flights per day. That is our vision for the Lilongwe-Lusaka route,” Langford-Johnson explained.
This will be a direct response to the rise in the number of passengers that the company has recorded on the route in the past three years which has seen passenger numbers growing by over 60 percent, a combination of both tourists and business people from the two countries.
“In the last six months we have not recorded any growth maybe because of the competition we are facing from Malawian Airlines but we are still optimistic about the prospects and this route remains one most important ones for us. And we believe it will continue to grow,” she said.
The company said almost in all the countries that they are operating in, they have been faced with problems of poor state of infrastructure which have in the end slowed down their business.
“In most of the routes they do not have sufficient flyer coverage for large aircraft, have few facilities and in many cases they still have dirt or gravel runways.
“In order for an airline to take full advantage of economies of scale to benefit from putting large aircraft on a route and maximizing the seats filled better infrastructure needs to be put in place to make it more sustainable,” Langford-Johnson hinted.
At the moment both Malawi and Zambia are in the process of renovating and building their main international airports, Kamuzu International Airport and Lusaka International Airport respectively are both undergoing facelifts.
“Once we get the new airports in place we would like to see upgraded systems in order to better facilitate the passengers coming through. We can see Zambia becoming a hub because of the good connectivity with so many other airlines flying in and out of Zambia,” she said.
The company started its operations in 1991 and it flies out to 12 destinations primarily in Zambia with two international routes of Lusaka to Lilongwe and Lusaka to Durban.
Proflight boasts of intra-line agreements with Fly Emirates, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenyan Airways and Rwandan Airways and it offers a baggage allowance of 23KGs.