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REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORT HONOURABLE DORA SILIYA MP ON THE SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS BY MINES AIR SERVICES TRADING AS ZAMBIAN AIRWAYS 21 JANUARY 2009 Mr. Speaker Mr. Speaker On the 10% of January 2009, | received a call midmorning from the NAC management informing me that Zambian Airways had suspended their operations until further notice. This information was relayed to NAC management initially by some Zambian Airways ground staff. However, in the afternoon of the same day a notice was put up at the airport informing passengers and the public that the airline had suspended operations until further notice. The notice said the decision was arrived at after a meeting of the share holders citing high fuel costs in the last 18 months as the cause. Prior to this, no official notification, as per the permit requirement, was forwarded to the Ministry of Communication and Transport, informing of any changes in the schedule or the decision to actually suspend operations. Mr Speaker, The suspension of operations by Zambian Airways created a lot of anxiety among the general public and in particular among the Passengers who found themselves stranded at airports both in and outside Zambia. You may wish to know that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) the clearing house for airline operators facilitates the interchange of passengers from one airline to another. In this case Zambian Airways passengers could not be transferred to other airline operators as Zambian Airways is not a member of the clearing house, IATA. As such the option for stranded Passengers was to buy new tickets from other airline operators or use other modes of transport. Information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows that 41 Zambians were stranded in South Africa. Mr Speaker In my Press statement on 12! January 2009, | informed the nation that Government regretted the sudden suspension of operations by Zambian Airways but that it was confident the other airline operators would absorb the traffic and reduce the immediate impact on Passenger travel in and out of Zambia. At this point Zambian Airways had not yet informed my ministry on the reasons for the suspension as well as how long the operations would remain suspended. However, on the 13% January 2009, our Director of Aviation received official correspondence from Zambian Airways CEO, Mr. Mutembo Nchito which reads as follows: “We write to confirm that the Board of Zambian Airways resolved ina meeting on Saturday 10 January 2009, to suspend all operations with immediate effect. The way forward shall be advised after due consultations with the banks that have supported the project. Attached herewith is a copy of notice to suspend operations which is an extract from the Board resolution.” THE NOTICE OF SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS “The last eighteen months have been very challenging for the airline industry in general and Zambian Airways in particular. The cost surged by more than 100% during this period. This created a lot of problems for Zambian Airways as a growing business. In the interest of our shareholders, stakeholders and our employees, we have decided with immediate effect, to suspend all our