Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
Operators of helicopter flights popularly known as “Flight of Angels” above the Victoria Falls have activated their systems in anticipation of return of tourists following the reopening of the sector.
Helicopter flights were automatically suspended when countries imposed travel bans as there were no travellers to take up the popular activity. The Flight of Angels is the only opportunity for tourists to view the upper and lower Zambezi River including the gorges, magnificent Victoria Falls and bridge, both on the Zambian and Zimbabwean side.
Chikopokopo Helicopters, Zambezi Helicopters and Bonisairare are the three operators based in the resort town. The recent resumption of domestic flights and the anticipated start of regional travel has reignited hope for helicopter operators.
Chikopokopo workers are already on site and Covid-19 guidelines such as hand washing and sanitising provisions have been put in place.
The company’s proprietor, Mr Lloyd Muchaka, said they have come up with packages for domestic tourists as they are ready to resume flights.
“We are very much prepared and we have been communicating with the regulatory authority (Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe) and it seems like everything is in order,” he said.
“We are excited by the coming of flights like Fastjet and we have been getting inquiries mainly from domestic tourists. We are hoping very soon we will be getting some from the region,” said Mr Muchaka.
Fastjet resumed scheduled flights last Thursday while Ethiopian Airlines is expected to start tomorrow. Mr Muchaka said operators were looking forward to opening of borders, particularly the South Africa and Botswana borders.
“People are waiting for things to happen but we are getting inquiries and hopefully we will be able to sustain numbers. We are excited to welcome tourists back in the new normal. For now, we will be flying smaller families and making sure they are sanitised, masked as we have put in place necessary health guidelines. As clients come in, they will be sanitised and temperature checked,” he said.
“I don’t think it will be an easy road but somebody has to sacrifice. We have reduced our prices by about 25 percent as we put in place packages to lure domestic clients.”
The tourism industry is generally sceptical about resuming most activities owing to low numbers of clients so far. — @ncubeleon