Scheduled flights to Kariba start

26 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Scheduled flights to Kariba start Kuva Airline started its inaugural flight t to Kariba yesterday

The Herald

Walter Nyamukondiwa Kariba Bureau

A new airline has entered the Kariba skies with scheduled flights three days a week, bringing low cost connectivity between the tourism destination and major source markets including Harare and Victoria Falls.

The development dovetails with the Government’s desire to improve tourism in the Kariba region, which started in 2019 culminating in the establishment of the Kariba Tourism Development Plan.

Improved accessibility was identified as one of the key ingredients for tourism revival in the town, which used to see over 14 000 people passing through the Kariba Airport at its peak in 1999, but declined to around 3 000 in recent years.

Time consuming travel by road and lack of cheaper flights to Kariba have been cited as major impediments to the destination’s growth as it leaves little time for activities.

Kuva Airline was launched yesterday amid pomp and fanfare with hopes that the development would solve accessibility challenges.

Tour operators and residents alike welcomed the new airline and pledged to support it as it has the potential to grow the town’s economy.

Speaking after touchdown at Kariba Airport, Kuva Airline managing director Mr Stewart Dunlop said: “The hassle of getting in and out of Kariba was the inspiration behind setting up the airline.

“Yes, the risk is there but I believe that Zimbabwe’s best kept secret, Kariba, has the demand and we hope everything works out.”

Kuva Airline marketing executive Mr Darryl Dzapasi said the airline would link Harare, Kariba, Victoria Falls and Hwange on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting June 1.

Loosely translated Kuva means to have or to be.

Kariba Airport manager, Mr Shupikayi Maramwidze, said Kariba Airport was the hub for connectivity and accessibility to areas such as Mana Pools and Matusadonha National Park.

“The airport and scheduled flights mean that smaller chartered aircrafts can fly to areas such as Mana Pools and the entire Zambezi Valley,” said Mr Maramwidze.

Representing tourism players in Kariba, Mr Quinten De Lange, said the introduction of a scheduled flight was a key step in awakening Kariba as a tourism destination.

“As tourism players and Government, it was discovered that a scheduled flight to Kariba ensured easy access to the greater Kariba area including Mana Pools and the Lower Zambezi where there are several tourism facilities that can be accessed through smaller chartered aircrafts,” said Mr De Lange.

Operator Mr Cephas Shonhiwa said the new airline provides impetus for growth of tourism in the Kariba region.

“There are some few things which need to be addressed but overall, this is one of the best things to ever happen to Kariba in a while,” said Mr Shonhiwa.

“The aircraft is the right size for now because other initiatives failed before because the aircrafts were bigger when there was simply no demand.”

The aircraft carries at least 30 people.

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