‘Offer competitive air fares’

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Obert Mpofu

ZAMBIAN Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga on Monday urged Air Zimbabwe to offer competitive fares, quality and lasting air services to beat competition during the airline’s relaunch of the Harare-Lusaka route after a three-year hiatus.

by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Mukanga was the guest of honour at the ceremony to mark AirZim return to Lusaka — a route that now has international players such Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways in addition to budget airline FastJet.

“Air Zimbabwe has to keep coming to Zambia. In order for the airline to remain plying the route, it has to offer competitive fares and cause everyone who thinks of coming to Zimbabwe to think of Air Zimbabwe,” Mukanga said.

He said AirZim’s temporary discontinuation of the route forced Zambia to open the route to other players such as Kenya, Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines under the Yamoussoukro Treaty of 1999 to open the skies.

The Zambian minister said that the future of tourism lies in domestic and regional tourism and not looking up to the West.

“Don’t look for tourists from out there like London, we have to create our own local tourists. If we can create that we can grow the tourism numbers,” he said.

Meanwhile, earlier in Harare, Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Obert Mpofu said the relaunch of the Harare-Lusaka route was set to improve the national airline’s route network.

“Certainly this move is a real game changer for the national airline and the travelling public,” Mpofu said.

“The resumption of the Lusaka flight rekindles potential of not just the business connections between the two countries, but the spirit of African aviation renaissance as alluded to in the Yamoussoukro Declaration and cements the country’s bilateral relations with our neighbour and friend, the Republic of Zambia.”

Air Zimbabwe will be flying into Lusaka three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using the Chinese-made 60 -seater MA60 aircraft.