ACZ doubles down to attract foreign airlines
THE Airports Company of Zimbabwe (ACZ) says it is working on further measures to lure more foreign airlines to fly into Zimbabwe in a development expected to promote trade, investment and tourism in the country.
ACZ is courting more airlines to consider flying especially into Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, in what should drive business activity, tourism and overall economic growth, ACZ chief executive officer Tawanda Gusha said.
“Efforts are ongoing to entice other big players to consider flying into Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport,” he said.
Mr Gusha said his company was striving to increase connectivity, not only with the continent of Africa, but also with the rest of the world.
“We are embarking on a programme to expand and modernise our international airports so that they will be able to handle big aviation players in the mould of Ethiopian Airlines,” he added.
Prior to Ethiopian Airlines flying to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo, Airlink was the only other international flight in and out of this airport to South Africa.
Mr Gusha said air transport played a critical role in the economic development of Zimbabwe.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Loveness Masuka-Dumwa, said, “As we sit here today and deliberate on the annual plan for ACZ, we are happy to note the growing number of airlines that now patronise our airports.
“This should spur us to increase our efforts in modernising our airport infrastructure together with the attendant processes and systems, so as to better serve this growing client base.
“In doing so, we must also be vigilant and live to the continuous evolution of standards of the systems and processes at airports and strive to attain the highest standards in the world, today and in the future.”
The Government has also posted major achievements through its Open Skies Policy.
“Zimbabwe negotiated 10 Bilateral Air Services Agreements with African countries, three with European countries and one with an Asian country.
“This feat indicates that the Ministry and its Aviation State Enterprises and parastatals are doing their part to transform our vision into reality,” she added.
ACZ highlighted that the ongoing airport development programmes across the country will also attract more airlines into Zimbabwe.
“If we build good airport infrastructure in areas such as Mutare, Manicaland Province, it will link more even with the development and will link Mozambique with Zimbabwe in a much faster and more efficient way.
“This will encourage the business community not to take longer in travelling by road. We will continue to develop airport infrastructure to attract more airlines into Zimbabwe,” ACZ board chairperson, Mr. Devnanda Popatlal said.
A total of 15 international and two domestic airlines are operating in Zimbabwe.
Among the 12 foreign airlines servicing the international routes to or from Zimbabwe are Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, RwandAir, Emirates, Fastjet and Qatar Airways.