Wilderness Safaris Zim seek airline licence

A regional tourism firm Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe has applied for a commercial airline licence to service domestic, regional and international routes, as the firm seeks to tap into the tourism industry ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly.

Zimbabwe and Zambia will next year co-host the global tourism showcase.

Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe, is part of Wilderness Holdings Limited that is listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Africa Board.

The company, which has been operational since 1983, has more than 50 camps and safaris in five Southern African countries — Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It offers guests private access to more than three million hectares of Southern Africa’s finest wildlife reserves.

According to last week’s Government Gazette, the Services Board has kick started processing the application for a licence by the company to operate an airline.

“Notice is hereby given that Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe trading as Wilderness Air, has applied to the Air Services Board for the issue of an air services permit to provide commercial scheduled and non-scheduled air services for the carriage of passengers, dry or fresh cargo and mail on local, regional and international routes,” reads part of the gazette issued last Friday.

“Any objections to this application, in terms of Section 17 of the Air Services Act must be made in the manner prescribed in Section 4 of the Air Services (General) Regulations, 1971, and within 28 days from the date of publication of this notice in this gazette.”

In May this year, the government and Wilderness Holdings signed a memorandum of understanding that would result in the latter investing between $8 million to $10 million into various projects.

Controversial Chinese-owned diamond mining company Anjin Investments in July applied for a commercial airline licence to service domestic, regional and international routes, as the firm spreads its tentacles to other sectors of the economy.

The country’s aviation sector has since dollarisation, attracted new airlines and the return of other players that had stopped flying into the country during the economic meltdown.

In May this year, Phoenix Air, another new airline, applied for a commercial licence to service domestic and regional routes in what could result in more competition for the troubled national carrier Air Zimbabwe.

In February, CAAZ licensed a third private airline, Sol Air, to service domestic and international routes, as competition in the aviation sector intensified.

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