Air Zim strike hurts Solenta Aviation

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The month-long strike by Air Zimbabwe pilots has resulted in 20% drop in bookings for Solenta Aviation Zimbabwe, which offers shuttle services to tourists.

However, overall positive developments in the country’s tourism sector has seen the company making plans to acquire four additional aircrafts in anticipation of improved business.

Managing director, Rob Killick, last week said the industrial action had a negative impact on the fortunes of the company.

“Air Zimbabwe is our partner in business. When it is down our business is down as well,” said Killick. “In recent weeks we have experienced a 20% drop down in flight bookings due to the strike.”

Solenta is 100% Zimbabwean owned company that offers shuttle services, scheduled and charter operations to the domestic market.

He said the company operates two aircrafts, Cessna Grand Caravans with a carrying capacity of 12 passengers each.

Of the two planes one operates from Harare and the other in Victoria Falls.

Killick said the planes were convenient and had a substantial luggage capacity adding that they were also specifically designed for bush runway conditions.

He the company was looking at expanding its foothold by introducing a Harare-Bulawayo and Harare, Victoria falls flights.

“Currently we are applying for air traffic licences. It is our hope that we will be able to start plying those routes later in the year if we get approval,” said Killick.

He said the company was working in close partnership with the tourism industry and was committed to developing the air connectivity and capacity in the region to ensure the beauty of Zimbabwe is available for all to experience.

“The tourism industry is performing well and there is room for growth,” said Killick.

“We are hoping by year end to have acquired four more air planes,” said Killick.

He said the improvement in hotel bookings was a sign of changing times in the tourism industry.