By Daniel Chigundu
ZAMBIA’S budget airline ProFlight has added its fleet with the delivery of a 50-seat Dash 8-300 aircraft in a bid meant to widen customer choice.
The highly anticipated arrival of the new 50-seater Bombardier Dash 8-300 turbo aircraft now brings ProFlight’s total fleet to seven aircraft.
Company’s director of flight operations Captain Gerald Tembo said the addition will help the airline to satisfy its growing customer base and to ensure reliability.
“We are looking to expand our network of destinations throughout the Southern African region and are increasing our capacity to cater to our growing customer base both here at home and on our international routes.
“The Dash 8-300 is a high performance, a versatile plane that offers great reliability, safety and low operating costs,” he said.
The coming in of the new aircraft comes at a time when the airline is looking to add new domestic and international destinations to its schedule in addition to its three existing regional routes, from Lusaka to Durban, Harare and Lilongwe.
Flights to Johannesburg, Gabon, Entebbe and Dar-es-Salaam are all being evaluated by the airline, which celebrates 27 years of operation this year.
Proflight’s strategy of investment in bigger planes such as the Dash 8-300, built by Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace, will help propel the Zambian-owned and operated airline into the league of top-tier regional airlines operating the Dash 8, including Ethiopian Airlines, QantasLink, Flybe, SA Express and Cemair in South Africa.
It currently operates a 50-seater Bombardier CRJ-100 jet, three 29-seater Jetstream 41 aircraft and two C208 Caravans, all Zambian registered with the Zambia Civil Aviation Authority (ZCAA).
The new aircraft will also free up the productive time of Proflight’s 50-seater CRJ 100 Jet aircraft.
The Dash 8 type covers a family of twin turboprop aircraft, ranging from 37 seats to 78 seats. The interior of the Dash 8 is very similar to that of its existing 50-seat CRJ 100 jet, which is also used on its Ndola and Livingstone services.