Harmony Agere

Air Zimbabwe says it will resume both domestic and regional flights beginning next week following further relaxation of national lockdown rules by the Government on Tuesday.

In a statement, the national airline said domestic and regional flight operations will resume with effect from September 23 and October 3 respectively.

“The domestic flight schedule features Harare/Bulawayo/Victoria Fall/Harare morning schedule and Harare/Victoria Fall/Bulawayo/Harare evening schedule every Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” reads part of the statement.

“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.”

According to the statement, Air Zimbabwe is still waiting for confirmation of the opening of South African airspace and airports before announcing dates for resumption of flights into Johannesburg.

The decision by the Government to allow domestic and international flights to resume, with the proviso passengers are tested for Covid-19 within 48 hours before they travel, has been welcomed by hospitality group, Africa Albida Tourism.

Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive, Ross Kennedy, said the hospitality group  was very pleased domestic air services on commercial and charter aircraft, would soon be active in our skies once more.

“Whilst there are some operational protocols to introduce and all necessary Statutory Instrument regulations to be published, it is a welcome and very positive decision by Cabinet and the Ministry,” Mr Kennedy said.

“We are collaborating with our air partners in Zimbabwe to get passengers into the skies and enjoying the wonderful and diverse destinations and experiences as soon as possible,” he said.

AAT had created fly-in packages for its Victoria Falls properties and was looking forward to welcoming guests stepping onto the tarmac at Victoria Falls airport very soon, Kennedy said.

“We are hopeful that borders will open soon to also allow self-drive traffic, with Victoria Falls and Livingstone being an obvious travel bubble over the Victoria Falls Bridge,” he said.

“It is also very good news to see Emirates announce that effective October 1 they will fly into Harare twice per week on their initial schedule,” he added.

“Getting other loyal and supportive African carriers such as Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways to return to Victoria Falls airport will also be a huge boost for tourism in the region.”

Meanwhile, Wallace Ruzvidzo reports that the National Union of Tourism, Wildlife, Leisure and Allied Works (NUTWLAW) has applauded Government for re-opening the tourism sector.

This comes following Government’s directive to relax restrictions for the tourism and hospitality industry as well as the aviation sector.

Speaking to Sunday Mail Online, the secretary-general of NUTWLAW, Mr Farayi Chitsinde said the opening up of the sector would safeguard jobs in the while also promoting investment.

“We applaud Government and especially our Minister of Tourism, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu, we would like to thank him very much for taking a bold step that will make sure households survive.

“As the secretary-general of the National Union of Tourism, Wildlife, Leisure and Allied Works, I am very happy that the tourism industry is opening. That is great news to the workers,” he said.