AIR Namibia has introduced a 112 seater Airbus A319 to service its Harare-Windhoek and Harare-Lusaka routes due to increased demand.
The Airbus, which offers both Business class and Economy Class services with 16 seats in Business and 96 Seats in Economy class, replaces the 37-seater Embraer ERL 135 Jet that has been in service since May 2012 when the airline relaunched flights to Harare.
The airline’s country manager for Zimbabwe Mr Forbes Zaranyika said the introduction of the new aeroplane had been influenced by increased demand for seats on the two routes.
“Our flights on the Embraer aircraft were now spilling and the market has been asking for class service hence the decision to deploy the bigger aircraft. “If you recall, at the launch of the Harare flights in May 2012, we hinted that a bigger plane was set to be introduced on the route once the route reaches spillage, and that is the case now,” he said.
Mr Zaranyika said the Embraer ERJ 135 was meant as their route opener to establish their presence.
“We chose the Embraer ERJ 135 due to its lower operating costs given that new routes initially have lower passenger numbers and yields. We will continue to monitor the trend as we seek to match capacity to demand,” he said.
Mr Zaranyika said the coming in of the Airbus has increased capacity which would result in their clients benefit ting from reduced fares on the routes.
“Th e return fare to Windhoek is starting from as low as $506 while the one-way fare will be from $511.
“On the Lusaka route, the return fare will be from as little as $325while the one-way fare will be from as little as $212. We also offer very competitive group fares on request and a group consists of 10 people or more. We also offer very competitive fares to Cape Town and Frankfurt via Windhoek,” he said.
Air Namibia fliies between Harare and Windhoek and Harare and Lusaka four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The introduction of a bigger plane by Air Namibia comes at a time when most airlines flying into Zimbabwe are enjoying brisk business and are expanding their services.
In November 2011 South African Airways introduced a bigger plane, an Airbus 330, every Thursday on the Johannesburg-Harare route.
In 2012 Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 787-860 Dreamliner named “Africa First” and the giant aircraft touched down in Zimbabwe in August.
The aircraft is being used on its routes in Africa, including Zimbabwe. Early last year Emirates Airlines, which flies between Harare and Dubai via Lusaka six days a week, introduced a 354-seater Boeing 777-300ER the longest passenger aircraft ever to touch down in Harare, to replace the 237-seater Airbus A333-20 that had been servicing the route.