Deputy News Editor
Air Zimbabwe is excited over the return of Harare-Johannesburg flights starting on June 16, in a key development that is expected to pave way for the resumption of intercontinental flights starting with Beijing followed by London.
Ms Firstme Vitori, the Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, confirmed the development to The Herald yesterday.
“We are excited with the resumption of flights into Johannesburg with one frequency, initially four times weekly every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday using the (Embraer) ERJ145,” she said.
“After resumption on the 16th of June 2021, our focus will be to increase the frequencies to twice daily flights as well as reintroduce the connection between Johannesburg and Bulawayo.
“Deriving from our strategic turnaround plan, our focus is the deployment of right-sized aircraft on appropriate routes and the introduction of the ERJ145 is a perfect fit for the success of this strategy.”
Ms Vitori said the resumption of flights on the Harare-Johannesburg route was key in the development of Air Zimbabwe’s hub and spoke network, with Harare as the regional hub.
Johannesburg becomes Air Zimbabwe’s second regional destination with Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, already operational. Air Zimbabwe has a plan to increase the regional network within SADC and beyond.
Ms Vitori said a strong domestic and regional network would be critical to plans of reintroducing long haul flights, with Beijing first and London second, in the near future.
“The travelling public should expect improved connectivity for the convenience of trade and tourism as well as schedule integrity anchored by competitive fares.”
The resumption of the Harare-Johannesburg route comes as Air Zimbabwe restarted domestic routes on June 2, for the first time since January last year when it stopped flights, apart from charter operations, due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Domestic flights have resumed as a triangle, Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls initially, four times a week every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The resumption of regional and domestic flights is expected to bring convenience to the business community and boost the tourism sector too.
Air Zimbabwe remains alive to the threat of Covid-19 infection and will continue to ensure strict adherence to all prevention protocols as guided by the International Air Transport Association, World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Child Care, for the safety of both the passengers and crew members.