Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
NATONAL airline, Air Zimbabwe, is working on a post-Covid-19 masterplan, which will see the company reclaiming its domestic and regional routes as it works on a recovery path.
The airliner had for months been using a single aircraft, the 767-200ER known as “Chimanimani” to service both domestic and regional routes.
Early this year Government bought Air Zimbabwe two modern Boeing 777-200ER aircraft from Malaysia with the aircraft additions expected to contribute significantly to national airliner’s inter-continental flights.
Air Zimbabwe public relations and corporate communications officer Ms Firstme Vitori said after suspension of flights and services because of Covid-19, the airliner is now busy working on its masterplan premised on four key pillars.
She was speaking in a podcast interview on “Ultimate Tourism Chat” hosted by Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) spokesperson Mr Godfrey Chief Koti.
“We closed our sales offices because of Covid-19, which brought air travel – our core business, to a halt. But we have not folded hands though as we are pursuing special charter passenger and cargo from, which revenue will be critical to kick-start operations post Covid-19.
“We have come up with a post Covid-19 masterplan, which is primarily drawn from our overall Strategic Turnaround Plan (SDP) and anchored on domestic and regional network and it will revolve around four key pillars,” said Ms Vitori.
She said the post-Covid-19 plan will involve deployment of narrow bodied equipment on traditional routes as well as new routes, which the airliner has earmarked.
This will lead to development of Harare as hub into the region with Victoria Falls being the hub for connecting local resorts to the region.
“The second pillar is development of a hub with Harare as the main hub into the region such as Dar-es Salam, Kinshasa, Lusaka, Lubumbashi, Johannesburg, Dubai among others while Victoria Falls as the tourism hub, shall link key domestic destinations such as Matopos, Hwange, Kariba and Buffalo Range to places like Cape Town in South Africa, Maun in Botswana and Windhoek in Namibia among other regional destinations,” said Ms Vitori.
She said the two hubs will operate under the flagship banner “Flame Lily.”
Victoria Falls and Dar-es-Salam will also be linked via Harare three times a week.
Ms Vitori said the airline will also reintroduce increased frequencies on domestic flights to offer daily morning and evening services to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls thereby bringing the much needed convenience to business and tourist day trippers.
“We want to promote our business and tourists with more travel and affordable travel packages for school trips as well as group tours. Reintroduction of international flights, which involves development of a strong robust domestic and regional route network as a feeder into international routes with London and China being top on our list as we roll out,” she added.
Ms Vitori said Air Zimbabwe’s rollout plan will greatly support the national effort as well as enable key stakeholders in the value chain. She said the country is buoyed by readmission to the International Air Travel Association (IATA) clearing house, which will enable Air Zimbabwe flights to be sold globally.
Ms Vitori said Government being the shareholder, had committed itself to supporting recapitalization of Air Zimbabwe whose fleet now comprise two BBB7-200ER and a 5-seater ERJ145.
Ms Vitori said additional capital requirement shall be determined and guided by the demand for air travel service and post Covid-19 plan.