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Sol Air ‘back’ in the sky

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A new airline servicing the domestic routes is set to take to the skies in the next few weeks after it was licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) recently.

Sol Aviation, operating as Sol Air, was last week issued with an air operator certificate.

It will become the second airline to service domestic routes and offer competition to national airline Air Zimbabwe.

Sol Air managing director Nkosilathi Sibanda said the company would be having four flights daily.

The airline will ply the Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Victoria Falls and Harare- Bulawayo routes.

“We tried twice to get the certificate, but failed,” said Sibanda. “We have, however, managed to get everything right this time. We currently have one aircraft, but the other three will be coming in the next three weeks,” he said.

Part of the fleet will include a 90-seater Beech craft 1900D, a 70-seater CRJ700 plane, a ATR 72-500 and a 70-78 turboprop.

“I have to date managed to invest $500 000 in the business. The funds are coming from my personal funds and borrowings. I do have potential partners and I am discussing with them,” he said.

Sibanda could however not disclose the fares the airline would charge, but indicated they would include the recently announced CAAZ fees.

Sol Air has been in existence for more than 10 years, but suspended its operations at the height of the economic crisis in 2002.

It used to offer scheduled flights from Harare-Kariba-Victoria Falls.

Sibanda said once they commenced operations they would look at the possibility of entering the South African and Comesa markets.

Issuing the certificate to Sol Air, CAAZ said the airline had met requirements of the Civil Aviation Act (Chapter 13:16).

“. . . Is hereby authorised to operate as a commercial air operator in accordance with said Act and the regulations and rules prescribed and standards prescribed there under and the terms, conditions and limitations contained in the approved operations specifications, ” reads part of the certificate issued to Sol Air.

The air operating licence will expire in January 2013.

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