Story by Owen Mandovha
ZAMBIAN Airways is the latest airline to join Zimbabwe’s airspace after making its inaugural flight plying the Lusaka – Harare route which has been made possible by growing trade between the two countries.
It landed at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport this Tuesday morning, taking the number of airlines flying into Zimbabwe to 18.
Zambian Airways Chief Executive Officer, Mr Abiy Asrat Jiru said the Harare route is too enticing to resist as a result of the growing trade between Zimbabwe and Zambia, “This route presents huge prospects for our company and country as it boosts our trade relations. Air travel is supposed to be cheap, our motive is to provide excellent air services. This route is going to be a cash cow for us.”
Airports Company of Zimbabwe Board Chairperson, Mr Dave Popatlal highlighted how the improvement in the aviation infrastructure is driving the influx of airlines to Zimbabwe.
“We have carried out a massive upgrade of the airport alongside the ever-improving economic environment as see many airline’s coming to Zimbabwe,” he said.
The Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Dr Mike Madiro and the Zambian Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Logistics all agreed that the development marks yet another important milestone in growing ties between the two countries.
“This moment is great for our engagement and re-engagement drive and open for business thrust. Zimbabwe and Zambia relations have been growing and this is massive in terms of trade,” noted Madiro.
Acting Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Transport and Logistics, Zambia,
Mr Shepherd Mbewe, “Many businesses have been set up in Zambia and this route has grown over the number of years so it makes great sense to service this route.”
This comes a few days after Ethiopian Airways made its first direct flight from Addis Ababa to Harare on Sunday.
Other airlines plying the Harare route are Lufthansa of Germany, RwandaAir, Air Tanzania, Fly Emirates and South African Airways, which also has several direct flights to Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.
The Second Republic has opened the economy to the global world underpinned by improvement in the entire aviation ecosystem.