Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
NATIONAL airliner, Air Zimbabwe, will be resuming domestic flights next week Wednesday with regional flights also set to restart in a fortnight.
Air Zimbabwe stopped operating when countries, including Zimbabwe, imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 as the aviation sector became one of the worst affected by the pandemic.
In a statement, the airliner said it will start with the Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route while in the region it will start by flying into Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. It said it will continue to review its business focus in line with market trends.
“Air Zimbabwe wishes to announce the resumption of domestic and regional flight operations with effect from 23 September 2020 and 3 October 2020 respectively. The domestic flight schedule features Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls-Harare morning schedule and Harare-Victoria Falls-Harare evening schedule every Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” it said. “The regional Harare-Dar es Salaam-Harare schedule shall initially operate every Tuesday and Saturday with an additional frequency expected towards the end of the year.”
The airliner had said it was still awaiting confirmation of opening of South African airspace and airports for it to plan dates for resumption of flights into Johannesburg.
However, South African President last night announced re-opening of borders and three airports namely OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka in Durban.
Air Zimbabwe said its offices are already open for bookings and advised clients to follow Covid-19 prevention protocols provided by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, World Health Organisation and International Air Transport Association of (IATA). Air Zimbabwe joins another local airliner FastJet which announced that it will resume the Harare-Bulawayo-Harare flights from Monday next week before the Harare-Victoria Falls-Harare route restarts on October 1.
Ethiopian Airways has also announced that it will resume flights into Victoria Falls on October 6, becoming the first regional flight to confirm resumption of flights after Covid-19. Government recently gave greenlight for resumption of domestic and international flights as it lifted the ban on domestic and international travel. Domestic and foreign travel had been banned on March 30 as Government imposed measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 at a time when most cases were imported.
The global pandemic came at a time when airlines were gradually increasing capacity and frequency due to demand.