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Dignitaries from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Zambia Airports Corporation, Zambia Civil Aviation Authority, media and staff joined the plane’s first flight over Lusaka to celebrate the country’s 54th birthday.
The aircraft, which is being registered in Zambia, has been named Independence – and Ubuntungwa in Bemba – to mark the occasion, and in recognition of Proflight’s 27 years as an independent Zambian-owned and operated airline.
The latest growth in the airline’s fleet, which now stands at seven aircraft, was praised by Zambia Tourism Agency Chief Executive Officer Felix Chaila, who said: “On behalf of the Zambia Tourism Agency and the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, we would like to congratulate Proflight Zambia on the launch of this new 50-seater Dash 8 aircraft.”
“In terms of promoting and marketing tourism in Zambia, this is a significant development. This is a big improvement in carrying capacity of air travel passengers domestically and regionally.”
He added: “We are aware that Proflight has been increasing its flights on the domestic and regional routes and having these larger capacity aircraft means that they will be operating efficiently, and we may be seeing a reduction in the fares.”
Meanwhile, Zambia Airports Corporation Director of Airport Services Agness Chaila said: “The inaugural flight on the Dash 8 was perfect, I liked the spaciousness of the aircraft, it was comfortable. As Zambia Airports we are very happy with this development.
“With the infrastructure, we are constructing, the capacity that we are increasing on the terminus or the airports, we are happy we are receiving a positive response from the airlines. Proflight, which is the biggest domestic carrier, has shown this response with the continuous expansion of its fleet and destinations.”
Proflight’s Director of Government and Industry Affairs Capt. Philip Lemba welcomed the passengers aboard the Dash 8 with a champagne toast to Zambia’s 54th anniversary.
“We are very happy to have the Dash 8 join our fleet. As Proflight we continue to take pride to fly across the Zambian skies with a magnificent fleet of aircraft and team. The Dash 8 inaugural Independence flight is dedicated in celebration of Zambia’s 54th independence anniversary with the theme “celebrating a shared future of unity, development and prosperity”.
Proflight’s naming of the Dash 8 as Independence follows the theme started with the naming of its CRJ aircraft Chembe.
Proflight’s strategy of investment in bigger planes such as the Dash 8-300, built by Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace, propels the Zambian-owned and operated airline into the league of top-tier regional airlines operating the dash 8, which include Ethiopian airlines, QantasLink, Flybe, SA express and CemAir in South Africa.
Capt. Lemba stated: “With our commitment to offer world-class flight services, Proflight’s Dash 8-300 will be efficient and reliable in servicing our domestic and regional routes.
“The aircraft coming from the Bombardier family will bring more choice and greater value to our customers,” he added.
The new 50-seater dash 8 aircraft now brings Proflight’s total fleet number to seven aircraft, and the promise of more convenience and more destinations.