The country’s aviation and tourism industries are set to benefit immensely from the coming on board of airline giant Emirates as it would improve connectivity with international destinations analysts have said.
Former Air Zimbabwe pilot, Oscar Madombwe said through Emirates the aviation industry will receive more traffic.
He said Emirates had identified an opportunity in a market many players have been hesitant to get into.
Madombwe said there were both negatives and positives brought about by the coming in of Emirates.
“ Through the arrangement of introducing new airlines into the sector we are opening the market to foreigners as we don’t have the capacity as a country,” said Madombwe.
“We can’t be double losers. Emirates will get money for the fares and we will benefit from tourists.”
He however said Harare would become a gateway for the African region to Dubai which is itself a gateway to Europe and the Americas.
Madombwe added South Africa had become congested, which made players want to move out to newmarkets.
Emirates joins Kenyan Airways, South African Airways and Ethiopia Airways which fly to Zimbabwe, while Air Zimbabwe is grounded due to viability problems.
Emirates is currently offering discounted prices ahead of its official launch on February 1.
“For the first time in Emirates’ history, we are welcoming in the New Year by offering unprecedented savings to our customers. With up to 25% off economy class, business class and first class airfares to every destination on our international network, there has never been a better time to experience the award-winning product and on-board service which has made Emirates Airline of the Year in 2011,” Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ executive vice-president — passenger sales worldwide said .
Emirates would be flying the Dubai-Zambia-Zimbabwe and other routes every week.
President of the Commercial and General Aviation Association of Zimbabwe Nkosilathi Sibanda said the discount being offered by the airline was a normal business practice for a new entrant in a new market. He said this offered good competition and forced other players to pull up their socks and improve on their services.
“The customer basically is the winner in such a scenario. There is therefore nothing unusual with Emirates offering those discounts,” said Sibanda.
“The increased numbers will improve accessibility of Zimbabwe since Emirates has a comprehensive global network that will attract people from far-flung areas easy access into Zimbabwe, since Emirates is one of the top airlines in the world.
“This also calls for a revamping of the local aviation industry to provide a viable and efficient service for onward passengers arriving at Harare airport by Emirates with those onward connections.”