Airline plans to boost capacity with larger plane
Proflight Zambia will almost double its capacity in the next few months with the introduction of a 108-seat Boeing 737 aircraft to its fleet.
The twin-engine jet plane marks a milestone for Zambia’s only scheduled airline, which celebrates 22 years of operation this year.
“The addition of the 737 aircraft represents a new departure for Proflight,” said the airline’s Director of Government and Industry Affairs Capt. Philip Lemba. “Hitherto we have been operating 29-seat Jetstream 41 and 18-seat Jetstream 32 aircraft. The 737 takes us to new heights and puts Proflight firmly in the big league of regional airlines.
The leap in seating capacity will enable Proflight and its passengers to benefit from the economies of scale inherent in a large aircraft. The operating costs of a large aircraft are proportionately lower than those of a smaller plane. Airport landing fees, fuel and crew costs can thus be apportioned between greater numbers of passengers, bringing airfares down dramatically.
Super-low introductory fares are now in the pipeline in recognition of these efficiencies, and the airline is exploring options of a KR150 one-way ticket from Lusaka to Ndola, subject to successful negotiations with the National Airports Corporation (NACL) over ground handling for the aircraft.
The airline is expected to be in place for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in Livingstone in August, and will play a pivotal role in getting delegates to the venue, and raising the nation’s standing in the eyes of the world’s tourism industry.
The airline believes that with its new aircraft it will be able to comfortably service the demands of the UNWTO event without the need for the country to bring in additional oversees carriers.
The 737 aircraft is the best-selling aircraft in aviation history. The 737 is operated by more than 500 airlines, flying to 1,200 destinations in 190 countries, and represents more than a quarter of the worldwide fleet of large commercial jet airliners. On average, some 1,250 Boeing 737s airborne at any given time around the world, with two departing or landing somewhere every five seconds, according to Flight International.
The 737-200 can fly at speeds of up to 780kph, compared with the current maximum speed of 546kph of the Jetstream 41 aircraft, reducing flight times significantly. Its cargo capacity will enable Proflight to offer increased baggage allowances on routes operated with the 737.
“The addition of the Boeing 737 to Proflight’s fleet lifts it into the ranks of the serious international airlines, making it a credible regional carrier from its Lusaka hub. The significance is enormous,” added Capt. Lemba.
Proflight is also in the process of purchasing an additional Jetstream 32/31 aircraft which will enter service in June 2013. This increases the schedule fleet to six Jetstream aircraft: two J41s and four J32/31s. With the growth on the Solwezi route in the past five years and the recent upgrading of the Solwezi runway Proflight has deployed the J41 aircraft onto the Lusaka/ Solwezi which doubles the number of available seats on this route.
About Proflight Zambia
Proflight Zambia was established in 1991 and is the country’s only domestic scheduled airline. From its base in Lusaka it flies to Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lower Zambezi, Ndola, Solwezi, Chipata, Mansa and Kasama.
The airline prides itself in providing a safe, reliable, efficient and friendly service, and offering good value to business and leisure travellers locally and internationally.
The airline operates two 29-seater Jetstream 41 aircraft; three 18-seater Jetstream 32’s; two 12-seater Caravan C208; nine-seater Britten Norman Islander; seven-seater Cessna C401/C402; and two five-seater Beech Baron. A 120-seat Boeing 737 is scheduled for introduction in the first quarter of 2013.
More information is available at www.flyzambia.com.