The European Commission has recently cleared all airlines certified in Zambia from the list of those banned for flying into the European airspace.
The announcement was done through the website of the Commission when releasing the update of the EU Air Safety List.
The list is compounded by 216 air operators that are restricted from flying in the European sky; all Zambian airlines were included in this list in 2009.
The lift comes after 7 years of work between the Zambian authorities, the airlines, the European Commission, and the European Union (EU) air safety committee.
Aviation safety is within the EU priorities since this seven years experts from Zambia and Europe worked hardly to make Zambian and African skies safer, EU Commissioner of Transport Violeta Bulc explained.
To see Zambian carriers cleared from the list is a first step and further work is coming to improve air safety for the benefit of air travelers and the country’s economy, EU Ambassador to Zambia & COMESA, Alessandro Mariani, added.
The air safety list is one of the key tools employed by the EU to assure the highest level of air safety to EU citizens.
The idea is to help countries with unsafe carriers to improve their levels of safety and benefit from the air transportation industry.
The European Commission has allocated so far EUR2.6m in contracts providing technical assistance to the Zambian civil aviation.
A new program totaling EUR5.6m is currently in progress to continue enhancing air safety in Zambia.
Last statistics from the Zambian the National Airports Corporation (NACL) indicate that in 2013, Zambia’s four main international airports handled 1.5m passengers.
1.3m (86%) of the total passengers were international and 0.3m were domestic passengers according to the same source.
There are currently 14 air operators with direct flights to Lusaka, 2 to Livingstone and 4 to Ndola, from different cities around the world.