Zimbabwe woos more international airlines

Zimbabwe woos more international airlines
Published: 24 September 2018 (90 Views)
THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) is seized with engaging and luring more airlines to service the country's route as part of measures to increase international connectivity and arrivals, an official has said.

Acting chief executive officer, Mr Blessing Ngwarai, told Business Chronicle the aviation company was in talks with many airlines, negotiating deals for them to service Zimbabwean routes.

"We have an incentive scheme running that is aimed at incentivising an airline to service Zimbabwe and reduce their destination start-up costs. Zimbabwe is open for business," said Mr Ngwarai.

His sentiments come amid indications that international giant, Virgin Atlantic, was in negotiations with authorities to introduce a direct Harare- London flight.

Excited travellers took to Twitter to express their excitement at the unconfirmed news. The country has not had a direct flight to London for more than a decade. Mr Ngwarai, however, could not confirm nor deny engagement with Virgin Atlantic.

"At this point in time, we cannot comment on any individual airline but we are working tirelessly to engage and attract airlines to Zimbabwe," he said.

Government through CAAZ has lined up a programme to upgrade airports across the country in a bid to double existing annual passenger handling capacity. The eight main airports in the country have a handling capacity of close to six million passengers annually, with the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport being the biggest at 2,5 million passengers per year.

There has been growing interest in Zimbabwe as a tourist and investment destination under the new dispensation. Recently, CAAZ revealed Government was in talks with Algeria, Tunisia, France, Italy and Chile for bilateral air service agreements that would allow Zimbabwe to establish flight links with their destinations.

Kenya Airways and RwandAir introduced flights to Victoria Falls connecting to Cape Town from their bases in Nairobi and Kigali November last year. This alone has seen Victoria Falls passenger traffic increasing by 30 percent.

- chronicle

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