AIR Zimbabwe last week successfully re-launched the Victoria Falls-Johannesburg route to capitalise on the likely high demand to be spawned by delegates attending the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly.
Report by Staff Reporter
The assembly will be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in Victoria Falls and Livingstone respectively from August 24 to 29. The re-launch follows the resumption of Victoria Falls/Harare and Harare/Johannesburg flights which have been operating successfully for several months.
The inaugural flight departed the Victoria Falls International Airport on July 26. The Embraer departed Victoria Falls at 1310hrs and landed the O.R Tambo Airport at 1455hrs. The national carrier will ply the Victoria Falls-Johannesburg route twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, using one of their latest aircraft, the Embraer.
The airline leaves Johannesburg at 1025hrs and arrives in Vic Falls at 1210hrs. One will have to part with only $275 for a return ticket to Johannesburg as compared to other airlines which cost almost double that price.
Air Zimbabwe public relations manager, Shingai Taruvinga said the direct flights between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg were part of efforts by the airline to take advantage of increased inbound and outbound traffic.
“We re-launched the Vic Falls-Johannesburg route last week because of the increase in traffic between the two places. The re-launch is also aimed at making Victoria Falls accessible ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly,” she said.
“UNWTO is coming and therefore the need to connect Vic Falls and Johannesburg as it is the region’s hub in terms of arrivals and departures. We have also been experiencing an increase in traffic into and out of the country and Air Zimbabwe should take its leading role as a facilitator of growth.”
Taruvinga said after launching the Cruising Altitude promotion, the airline had been overwhelmed by high demand of travellers using the airline hence their decision to extend the promotion.
“A lot of people have been using our airline recently and we want the trend to continue. We have even added extra slots between Harare, Bulawayo and Johannesburg. We have days when there are double flights between Harare and Bulawayo and because of this demand, we have now linked Victoria Falls and Johannesburg,” she said.
Meanwhile, the national carrier has made travelling by air a possibility for many with their Cruising Altitude promotion. With this promotion, which has been extended to September 30 from the initial July 31, fares were slashed and one only has to pay $180 to fly to Vic Falls from Harare, $105 to fly to Bulawayo from Harare, and $275 to fly to Johannesburg from Harare (Economy class) and $550 for the business class.
Air Zimbabwe services its routes using a combination of the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and 767, and other smaller aircraft for the domestic flights, depending on the load.
Since resuming flights in April last year, the airline has been flying domestic routes three times a week.