Zambian President Edgar Lungu has called for the immediate reopening of the international airports in the Southern Africa country. International airports in Zambia have been closed for almost three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on national television, President Lungu pointed at the contribution of aviation to the economy. “The reopening of airports that were closed will reinvigorate the economy and steer growth” he said.
Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone of one of the international airports that were closed. The airport provides access into the Majestic Victoria Falls and is served by a number of airlines including Kenya Airways from Nairobi and South African Airways from Johannesburg.
Considering the close linkages between aviation and tourism, President Lungu said: “In the tourism sector as I stated in the last address, we also have to get back to work. I, therefore, announce the reopening of all international airports which were closed.”
He added: “The reopening of all international airports will trigger the recovery of the tourism sector not only in Livingstone but the country at large. We have to get back to work fully under the new normal”.
A number of African countries have been reopening their airports to commercial domestic and international traffic. Zambia joins Namibia and South Africa who reopened their airports for domestic travel.
Airports across the continent have introduced a number of health measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus. President Lungu called on the Ministers of Transport, Tourism, Finance and Home Affairs to closely collaborate and put strict health protocols in place. These measures include social distancing, screening, mandatory wearing of a nose and mouth covering mask, testing of passengers with symptoms and the quarantining passengers who test positive.
Meanwhile Zambian private airline Proflight Zambia (P0) has announced repatriation flights from Lusaka to Johannesburg on the 10th and the 24th of July. In addition, the airline released a flight schedule for the months on July and August to local Zambian destinations including Solwezi, Ndola, Mfuwe and Livingstone.
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