Zambia’s aviation industry in 2023 hit a historic peak of above two million passengers despite the year being turbulent as a result of Covid-19, Aviation authorities have said.
In 2023, the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL) served 2,056,312 general passengers, according to the Corporations acting Managing Director, Gillian Mazimba.
Announcing the 2023 aviation industry performance in Lusaka on Wednesday, Mazimba said this was the highest number of passengers recorded by the Corporation since its inception in 1989.
She stated that this represented an increase of 24 percent when compared to 1,653,077 passengers recorded in 2022 and a recovery to pre Covid-19 levels of 111 percent when compared to 1,850,715 passengers recorded in 2019.
“The highest recovery rate was at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport at 123 percent and the least was at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport at 60 percet recovery,” Mazimba highlighted.
She said international passengers recovered by 103 percent with Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) recording the highest recovery of 115 percent.
Mazimba noted that Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport which mainly served the tourism industry continued with a slow pace to recovery at only 45 percent.
“Nevertheless, this was an improvement when compared to a recovery of 39 percent recorded in 2022,” she said
Mazimba stated that 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,” she added.
Mazimba attributed the performance also to hosting of the 16th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Business Forum, the 22nd Summit of COMESA Heads of State and the CANSO Africa Conference.
She said 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 and Proflight Zambia played a significant role in boosting passenger numbers.
“Domestic passengers recovered by 140 percent with all airports surpassing pre COVID-19 passenger levels,” Mazimba dislosed.
She revealed that Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport recorded the highest recovery of 173 percent as the Lusaka-Ndola route was the busiest in the period under review.
Mazimba attributed the positive domestic performance 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,” she added.
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