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  Feb 7, 2024   admin

Without doubt, 2023 was a historic year for the aviation industry. On a global scale, airlines continued to blossom again following a turbulent period brought on by the COVID19 pandemic. With vaccine availability and safety controls put in place around the world, the industry remained resilient and slowly started to recover. Countries loosened restrictions, opened borders and once again welcomed travel. This led to a significant increase in the number of general passengers.

In addition to recovery from the effects of the pandemic, another concern and primary challenge that the industry faced in 2023 was the significant increase in fuel prices. This had the potential to negatively affect the sector as it has an impact on airline operating costs, which can result in higher ticket prices for passengers.

Despite this, Zambia’s aviation industry commenced on a good note with passenger numbers being at 98% of pre COVID-19 levels and even managed to move past pre COVID-19 levels by April 2023.

In 2023, Zambia Airports Corporation Limited served 2,056,312 general passengers which is the highest number of passengers recorded by the Corporation since its inception in 1989. This represents an increase of 24% when compared to 1,653,077 passengers recorded in 2022 and a recovery to pre COVID-19 levels of 111% when compared to 1,850,715 passengers recorded in 2019. The highest recovery rate was at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (SMKIA) at 123% recovery and the least was at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport (HMNIA) at 60% recovery.

International passengers recovered by 103% with Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) recording the highest recovery of 115%. HMNIA which mainly serves the tourism industry continued with a slow pace to recovery at only 45%. Nevertheless, this was an improvement when compared to a recovery of 39% recorded in 2022.

International passenger performance was driven by the complete removal of COVID-19 requirements by the Ministry of Health in March 2023 in addition to sporting events held in the country such as the Barcelona Legends vs Zambia Legends Exhibition Football Match in May 2023 as well as the hosting of various meetings and conferences which included the Summit for Democracy, the 16th COMESA Business Forum, the 22nd Summit of COMESA Heads of State and the CANSO Africa Conference.

The commencement of flights by Mozambique Airlines into Lusaka and Fly Safair into Livingstone from Johannesburg as well as the introduction of new routes by Zambia Airways (Lusaka-Harare & Lusaka-Johannesburg) and Proflight Zambia (LusakaCapetown) played a significant role in boosting passenger numbers.

Domestic passengers recovered by 140% with all airports surpassing pre COVID-19 passenger levels. SMKIA recorded the highest recovery of 173% as the Lusaka-Ndola route was the busiest in the period under review. The positive domestic performance can be attributed to the competitive pricing being offered by domestic airlines for flights to and from Lusaka as well as the resumption of the Ndola-Mansa route by Proflight Zambia. In addition, the continued hosting of various meetings in Livingstone by Professional Bodies has continued to be a significant contributor to domestic passenger performance.

In the year 2023, 18,054 tonnes of cargo and mail passed through ZACL airports, representing a growth of 8% when compared to 2022 when 16,570 tonnes were recorded. The rate of recovery to 2019 levels when 22,046 tonnes were recorded was at 81%.

Going into 2024, Zambia Airports Corporation Limited anticipates continued growth in general passenger traffic largely driven by trade and tourism at all airports. Additionally, the commissioning of Kasama Airport will have a positive impact on domestic performance as Proflight Zambia is scheduled to resume flights to the destination in the first quarter of the year. The corporation is also in the process of refurbishing other aerodromes around the country that serve the domestic market.

As a corporation, we will continue to engage key stakeholders in the industry to ensure further collaboration in order to make Zambia an attractive and affordable destination, with a focus on seamless air travel which will aid in attracting more business tourism including the hosting of meetings and conferences

About Zambia Airports Corporation Limited

Zambia Airports Corporation Limited was established in 1989 through the amendment of the Aviation Act, Chapter 444 of the Laws of Zambia which has been repealed and replaced by the Aviation Act No. 5 of 2016. It is also incorporated under the Companies Act No. 10 of 2017.

The Corporation’s mandate is to develop, maintain and manage the four designated international airports, namely Kenneth Kaunda in Lusaka, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe in Ndola, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula in Livingstone and Mfuwe, three strategic and seven provincial aerodromes and the provision of Air Navigation Services within the Zambian Airspace.

For further information contact:

Mweembe Sikaulu (Ms)

Communications and Brand Manager; mobile: +26 0964 629463