Michael Tome Business Reporter
FASTJET Zimbabwe has disclosed interest to ply the Maputo and Beira routes, reviving the direct flights to these destinations which had long been abandoned by various carriers.
This comes after the company recently advised of an impending launch of the Bulawayo-Johannesburg route as the airline aims to grow its route network across the region.
Effective December 5, 2019, the airline will fly the Bulawayo-Johannesburg route with 22 scheduled flights per week including double-daily frequencies Monday through Friday with a single flight operation on Sunday.
In an interview recently fastjet chief executive officer Joao Sousa, hinted on his company’s intention to resuscitate the Beira and Maputo routes, while signalling interest in taking up more routes in the region.
He called on the responsible authorities to lessen administrative barriers.
“There are several routes we are looking at internationally, there used to be routes to Kruger, Beira and Maputo and these are under our radar and we are doing a business analysis so we can see the next move.
“From Government, we are expecting faster decisions in terms of allowing us to do more routes than we are doing right now.
“We want Government to help us achieve more routes that we have applied for in the meantime, international and also local,” Mr Sousa said.
The fastjet chief implored key stakeholders in the aviation industry to have common vision and commitment to salvage the industry from doldrums it currently find itself in to attract other airlines mainly through improvement of basic air travel services indicating that his company’s aim was to provide flights convenient for leisure and business passengers travelling to various destinations of the region.
He said his organisation was constantly in touch with other international bodies with overall intent to breathe life into Zimbabwe’s aviation industry.
“Our request to stakeholders like National Handling Services (NHS), Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) and Government is to help us improve aviation services, because if we improve our service more people will come to Zimbabwe, we should stick to action than word of mouth.
“We are in conversations with international players to work together and make Zimbabwe a more attractive destination like it used to be,” he said.
Like a number of industries, the local aviation industry has been grossly affected by lack of foreign currency and fall of the demand for services owing to the erosion of incomes on the part of customers.
Zimbabwe has been having a hard time to repatriate funds to international airlines, heaping on to challenges that are discouraging the country’s aviation industry from efficiently discharging duties.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Zimbabwe owed airlines about $196 million as of July this year, stuck in the country due to shortage of hard currency.