WITHSouth African Airways (SAA) requiring about R21 billion to keep running, Air Zimbabwe technically insolvent and Zambia Airways generally non-existent, the time is now ripe to collapse these three into one regional airline.
It is not a secret that
SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana is on record saying his airline will not be profitable by 2020 which is a year earlier than the projected 2021.
Zambia Airways is banking on the benevolence of Ethiopian Airlines to enable it to take off in January next year under the proposed 55/45 shares agreement with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)and Ethiopian Airlines respectively.
The death of SAA, Air Zimbabwe and Zambia Airways will pave way for stronger continental airlines to take over the market and reduce the three countries to mere aviation spectators.
Joining the three airlines will not only work to build a stronger regional airline, but it will also ensure a return to profitability and doing away with mismanagement and corruption currently weighing down the three airlines.
The regional airline will also go a long way in enhancing tourism in the region especially targeting outbound tourists from such source markets as China, India, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States among others.
Joining forces will also help in opening many new routes for the airline as well as servicing the current ones effectively as it will have a wider fleet of planes.
A wider fleet is ideal especially when targeting such countries as China which is by far the world’s largest source market of outbound tourists having spent US$ 258 billion on international tourism in 2017, which is almost one-fifth of the world’s total tourism spending in 2017, which stood at US$ 1.3 trillion, some US$ 94 billion more than in 2016.
In 2015 about 120 million Chinese travelled abroad and according to the China National Tourism Organisation, China will provide as much as 600 million outbound tourists by 2020 making it a very lucrative market.