Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe’s acting general manager, Tawanda Gusha has said Turkish Airlines has not made any formal communication with Zimbabwe to establish flights between Harare and Turkey despite reports the deal is nearing fruition.
BY TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI/ TAFADZWA MUTACHA
In 2016, there were reports that Turkish Airlines would introduce direct flights to Harare at the beginning of 2017, as a move to improve the ease of doing business between Harare and Istanbul.
Speaking in the capital on Friday at a media workshop on the aviation industry, Gusha said there were only two airlines, Proflight of Zambia and Air Tanzania which had met all the necessary clearance procedures and will soon introduce flights to Harare from Lusaka and Dar Es Salaam respectively.
“We have been in discussion with Turkish Airlines for quite a while now, however the reason why I am talking about Pro-flight and Air Tanzania is because we are talking of those that will have made formal submissions and indications that we are flying into the country,” Gusha said.
“Yes, they have been looking at Zimbabwe as a destination but we have not made any formal communication between ourselves and them.”
Gusha said although CCAZ has approached a few airlines and vice versa due to prospects of economic improvement from the inception of the new political dispensation under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, there remained few clearances which these airlines were obliged to meet.
“It’s a two-way process, its either we approach the airline which is the majority of the cases or the airline approaches us. What really happens is there are just a few clearances that are required.”
For any airline to operate in country, they must get a foreign operating permit, have an active bilateral air service agreement between their country and also meet the aircraft landing fees which have widely been criticised as exorbitant and uncompetitive compared to the rest of the world.
“When we set landing fees, we compare with what is obtaining in the region and beyond. Some look at the fees as high but the bulk of our fees are competitive compared to the rest of the region,” Gusha said.